Former US defense official: US military flight a strong signal Taiwan not territory of China

Joseph Bosco, former China country desk official in the office of the Secretary of Defense, said that a US military plane’s flight over Taiwan June 9 was a strong signal that the US does not consider Taiwan part of China’s territory.

Voice of America Chinese reports the comments in an interview with Bosco, after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper reaffirmed America’s commitment to a democratic Taiwan in a series of tweets, Tuesday morning, June 16.

Bosco, a senior associate at the Institute of Taiwan-American Studies, told VOA that the United States has long included Taiwan among its strategic and security partners.

Speaking on the US Navy C-40 transport aircraft flight over Taiwan on June 9, Bosco said that the United States used this to send a signal, “indicating that we have a close relationship, and a close security relationship with Taiwan.”

Bosco said that the relationship includes common and shared values, and demonstrates to China that “we care about Taiwan and its security.”

Bosco told VOA that China’s accelerating provocations cannot intimidate Taiwan or the United States.

The government of the People’s Republic of China condemned the United States military for the “provocative” flight of the US Navy aircraft over Taiwan, saying the move infringed upon China’s sovereignty and contravened international law, VOA’s English language edition reported, June 11.

The PRC accused the US military of “flying over Chinese territory without Chinese permission and seriously infringing upon China’s territorial sovereignty”.

Bosco said that China’s argument is that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, so the United States must obtain China’s approval to fly over Taiwan, but the United States “of course rejects” this argument because “for the United States, Taiwan’s status has not yet been decided. And it must be decided peacefully across the Taiwan Straits with the consent of the people of Taiwan. So since those things have not happened, it is definitely not part of China, and basically it is a de facto independent country.”

Prior to the June 9 flight, the US military had obtained permission from Taiwan to fly over the island.

“Because we think that is now Taiwan’s territory,” Bosco said, “of course, the United States applies to Taiwan.”

Bosco then expressed his support for the “Taiwan Defense Act” proposed by US Senator Josh Hawley, June 11.

Bosco said Congress must send a strong signal to China by passing this legislation and letting the president sign it into force.

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