US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Sunday he saw no impending Chinese invasion of Taiwan but said China was trying to establish a “new normal” with its military activities around the island.
A visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in early August angered China, which subsequently began holding military exercises near the island. These measures will continue, albeit on a reduced scale.
“I don’t see any impending invasion,” Austin said in an American television interview.
“What we are seeing is China moving to establish what we would call a new normal. Increased activity we have seen several crosses of the Taiwan Strait center line by your planes. This number has grown over time. We have seen more activity with their surface and watercraft in and around Taiwan.”
The United States and its allies responded to the exercises by continuing to navigate the region. A US Navy warship and a Canadian frigate made a routine transit through the Taiwan Strait on Sept. 20.
The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to “ensure that we maintain a free and open IndoPacific,” Austin said in an interview on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS recorded Friday.
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