Continuous escalation Washington pledges to defend Taiwan and tightens restrictions on Chinese companies

Continuous escalation Washington pledges to defend Taiwan and tightens restrictions on Chinese companies

Sandra Odekirk, the top US representative to Taiwan, says her country is committed to helping Taiwan defend itself. The US Senate voted unanimously in favor of legislation that would prevent Chinese giants from obtaining new equipment licenses from regulators.

Sandra Odekirk, the top US representative in Taiwan, said Friday that the United States is committed to helping the island defend itself.

In her first press conference since taking over as president of the American Institute of Taiwan in July, Oddkirk described US relations with the island as "rock solid".

The institute represents a de facto embassy in Washington in the absence of formal diplomatic relations.

"The United States has an obligation to help Taiwan take care of what is necessary to defend itself," she added.

Her comments came with the escalation of tension in the past weeks between Taiwan and China, which did not rule out the use of force to control the democratically governed island that China considers affiliated with it.

Although Washington, like most countries, does not have official relations with Taiwan, it is its most important ally and its main supplier of arms.

When asked if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan if China attacked it, Oddkirk said that the policy regarding Taiwan is clear and remains unchanged, citing several US laws governing relations with Taiwan.

China has recently intensified military exercises in the air defense identification zone of Taiwan, and this is what the latter considers military harassment from Beijing.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged all UN member states to support Taiwan's "strong" participation in the organization's system.

In a related context, the US Senate voted unanimously Thursday in favor of legislation preventing Chinese giants such as "Huawei Technologies" or "ZTE" from obtaining new licenses for equipment from regulators, because they represent a security threat.

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed the safe equipment legislation in the latest effort by the US government to handcuff Chinese telecom and technology companies, with a vote of 420 to four, and the legislation will now be referred to President John Biden for his signature.

"Chinese state-directed companies such as Huawei and ZTE are known threats to national security and have no place in our communications network," Republican Senator Marco Rubio said.

The new legislation would prohibit the FCC from examining or issuing any new equipment licenses to companies on its list of communications equipment and services deemed a national security risk.

In March, the Federal Communications Commission designated five Chinese companies as a national security threat under a 2019 law designed to protect U.S. telecommunications networks.

A spokesman for Huawei, which has always denied affiliation with the Chinese government, declined to comment on Thursday, but in June described a proposal to the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider previous licenses as "misleading and unnecessary punishment."
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