The US is undertaking “strategic planning” with ally Australia to consider potential joint responses to a war over Taiwan, US President Joe Biden’s top diplomat in Canberra said yesterday.
“We’re committed as allies to working together — not only in making our militaries interoperable and functioning well together, but also in strategic planning,” Michael Goldman, charge d’affaires ad interim at the US embassy in Canberra, said in an Australian National University podcast, when asked about a potential role for Australia in a Taiwan contingency.
“And when you look at strategic planning, it covers the range of contingencies that you’ve mentioned, of which Taiwan is obviously an important component,” Goldman added.
While Australia regularly hails its history of being involved in every major US conflict over the past century, it has yet to officially commit to taking part in a potential conflict over Taiwan.
The US also makes no iron-clad guarantees it will come to Taiwan’s defense if China makes good on threats to invade, only agreeing to help its capacity for self-defense.
China has stepped up military exercises around Taiwan over the past few years as Washington bolsters diplomatic ties with Taipei.
The comments risk inflaming US-China relations as Beijing hits back hard over criticism from Western countries over everything from allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang and cracking down on democracy advocates in Hong Kong to increased intimidation of Taiwan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) government views all of them as “internal matters,” and has begun to lash out at companies that take a position on them.
China has also hit Australia with trade reprisals since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government called for independent investigators to be allowed into Wuhan, China, to probe the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week said that Beijing “apparently helped to write” a WHO report studying the origins of COVID-19.
Goldman, who is heading the embassy until Washington replaces former US ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse, who left in January, also backed up comments by US National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell.
In a newspaper interview last month, Campbell said that US relations with China would not improve until Beijing stops its economic coercion against Australia.
Other nations including Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam have also been targeted with economic action by Beijing, he said.
“We really can’t expect to have substantial improvements in our relationship with China while it’s holding hostage the economies of our partner nations,” Goldman said.
‘LOCAL TRANSMISSION’: The nation reported 11 new cases, including seven local infections in the north, the highest daily number of cases since the pandemic began The COVD-19 situation has entered the “local transmission” stage and enhanced disease prevention measures have been implemented until June 8, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced yesterday as it reported six locally transmitted cases with unclear infection sources. The center reported 11 new cases yesterday: four imported cases from India, and seven local infections in northern Taiwan, the highest daily number of cases since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that one of the local infections — case No. 1,201 — is a woman who is a family member living with
SIXTEEN LOCAL: Three COVID-19 infections are linked to a cluster at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 to a case in New Taipei City and three had unclear sources The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday urged people to increase vigilance and thoroughly practice preventive measures against COVID-19 as it reported 16 locally transmitted cases of the disease. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 21 cases were confirmed in Taiwan yesterday: 16 local cases, four imported cases and one case undetermined. The locally transmitted cases are three linked to a cluster of infections at a gambling house in Yilan County, 10 associated with a previous case in New Taipei City and three with unclear sources of infection. The CECC on Tuesday reported a cluster
TRACING TROUBLE: An infected man who had said that all his children were abroad was found to have a daughter in Kaohsiung who tested positive, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported a new daily record of 29 local COVID-19 cases, including seven cases with unknown sources of infection. Of the 29 cases, 16 are linked to tea houses in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a news briefing in Taipei. The 16 are tea house workers or visitors, or their contacts, the CECC said. Workers and visitors to the establishments have frequent interpersonal contact, but few protective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic are in place, Chen said, urging those who have been exposed or have
GRID PROBLEM: A Taipower spokesman said that the blackouts were not due to usage exceeding supply, nor were they because of a problem at the Singda plant There were rolling blackouts across Taiwan yesterday due to a grid malfunction at the Singda Power Plant (興達電廠) in Kaohsiung’s Yongan District (永安), while Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) said that it was working “as hard as possible to resolve the issue as soon as possible.” At 2:37pm, a malfunction at an ultra-high-voltage substation in Kaohsiung’s Lujhu District (路竹) triggered four generators at the Singda plant to go offline, cutting power output by 2.2 million kilowatts and prompting Taipower to initiate rolling blackouts nationwide as it worked on the problem. Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒) told a news conference in Taipei that