Washington has been clear with Beiging that its approach to Taiwan has not changed, including its commitment to "One China" policy, says top US diplomat for East Asia.

US has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide it with the means to defend itself.
US has no formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan but is bound by law to provide it with the means to defend itself. (Reuters)

The United States does not support Taiwan's independence and is committed to the "One China" policy, Washington's top diplomat for East Asia has said, but warned Beijing risks miscalculation with pressure on the island.

The United States has been clear with China that its approach to Taiwan has not changed, including the US commitment to its "One China" policy and not supporting Taiwan's formal independence, Daniel Kritenbrink said on Wednesday.

China, which sees Taiwan as its province, has been carrying out military drills around the island this month to show its anger at a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Taiwan rejects Beijing's claims and says it is an independent country. 

Speaking on a conference call, Kritenbrink, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said China had used Pelosi's trip as an excuse to change the status quo, jeopardising peace.

"These actions are part of an intensified pressure campaign by the PRC against Taiwan, which we expect to continue to unfold in the coming weeks and months," he said, referring to China's official name, the People's Republic of China. 

"The goal of this campaign is clear to intimidate and coerce Taiwan and undermine its resilience."

"While our policy has not changed, what has changed is Beijing's growing coercion. The PRC's words and actions are deeply destabilising. They risk miscalculation and threaten the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait."

The US has conveyed to China in every conversation that it does not seek and will not provoke a crisis, he said. 

US lines of communication with Beijing remain open, and the United States will continue to conduct routine naval transits through the Taiwan Strait, Kritenbrink added.

READ MORE: China sanctions Taiwanese 'independence diehard' officials

US, Taiwan begin new trade initiative

Meanwhile, the United States and Taiwan agreed to start trade talks under a new initiative, saying they wanted to reach agreements with "economically meaningful outcomes".

Wednesday's step dates back to when Washington and Taipei unveiled the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in June, just days after the Biden administration excluded the Chinese-claimed island from its Asia-focused economic plan designed to counter China's growing influence.

The office of the US Trade Representative said the two sides had "reached consensus on the negotiating mandate" and it was expected that the first round of talks would take place early this autumn.

"We plan to pursue an ambitious schedule for achieving high-standard commitments and meaningful outcomes covering the eleven trade areas in the negotiating mandate that will help build a fairer, more prosperous and resilient 21st-century economy," the United States Deputy Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi said in a statement.

The negotiating mandate released along with the announcement said the United States and Taiwan have set a robust agenda for talks on issues like trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, and removing discriminatory barriers to trade.

It did not mention the possibility of a broad free trade deal, which is something Taiwan has been pressing for.

READ MORE: Canada lawmakers announce Taiwan trip after strong China reaction to Pelosi

Source: Reuters