Taiwan thanks U.S., Australia for their support of regional role

Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan on Wednesday thanked the governments of the United States and Australia for their joint statement reaffirming Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region and their intent to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan will continue to cooperate with the U.S., Australia and other like-minded countries and maintain the good relationships that currently exist, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.

The ministry reiterated that Taiwan will work with those countries to jointly promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Taiwan will continue to do its utmost to fulfill its responsibility as a member of the international community” and firmly defend the democratic system and the rules-based international order, Ou said.

The joint statement was issued at the 30th Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN 2020) held in Washington D.C. on Tuesday to discuss issues concerning the China challenge, Indo-Pacific security, and regional cooperation.

Among those attending were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper of the United States, as well as Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds of Australia.

Speaking of Taiwan, the statement said the secretaries and ministers “re-affirmed Taiwan’s important role in the Indo-Pacific region as well as their intent to maintain strong unofficial ties with Taiwan.”

They also reaffirmed support for Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a prerequisite.

“Where statehood is a prerequisite for membership, both sides support Taiwan’s meaningful participation as an observer or guest,” the joint statement said.

The two countries said “recent events” only strengthened their resolve to support Taiwan and that “any resolution of cross-Strait differences should be peaceful and according to the will of the people on both sides, without resorting to threats or coercion.”

Those “recent events” include Beijing’s imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong, which the statement described as an effort by China to “erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.”

In the statement, the two countries also committed “to enhancing donor coordination with Taiwan, with a focus on development assistance to Pacific Island countries.”