Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command, said on Thursday (August 5) that the US is capable of defending Taiwan in a military conflict.
At the Aspen Security Forum, Aquilino said the US military is still operating in the Indo-Pacific to safeguard regional peace and prosperity, and that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait must be maintained. According to Stars and Stripes, the general claimed Beijing’s “heavy-handed actions” in Hong Kong had exacerbated his concerns about China’s intentions toward Taiwan.
According to Aquilino, US policy toward Taiwan is extremely clear and is based on the Taiwan Relations Act, the six assurances, and the three joint communiques between the US and China. According to a Liberty Times story, when asked if China will invade Taiwan sooner than expected, he simply stated that the Indo-Pacific is the most vital region for the US and that it is Washington’s biggest security challenge.
The US military, according to Aquilino, is focusing on integrated deterrence, which is “designed for the entire joint force to be able to operate in a synchronized fashion in all domains,” including cyberspace and space. He went on to say that the US is also striving to secure interoperability with other allied forces.
“The U.S. is ready for any contingency should it occur,” Stars and Stripes quoted the commander as saying.
“I have a level of confidence that the U.S. military and Department of Defense is in a good place,” Aquilino said.
The commander also stated that the US is more concerned with what Beijing does and how it acts with its neighbors than with what Beijing says. China’s actions are inconsistent with what it has promised, he said, citing the Sino-British Joint Declaration as an example of the country’s many broken promises. Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, according to Aquilino, goes against the concepts of dignity, respect, and human rights.