Q: On the
China white paper yesterday, the White House has made clear
U.S. policy, that it would view very seriously any attack on
Taiwan. How does the Pentagon feel about this? And do you plan
any show of force at all? Is the United States planning any
show of force in the South China Sea to emphasize this?
We feel the same way the White House feels about it.
-- (off mike) --
Our policy is very clear. We have a one-China policy. Disputes
between China and Taiwan should be settled peacefully.
have issued a white paper that contains some rhetorical threats,
but -- and we don't think those threats are helpful, but they
are -- it is only rhetoric at this stage. We plan no change
in force dispositions, no change in our naval dispositions
in the area at this stage. Obviously, we'll watch this situation
the Chinese just yesterday announced that they were demanding
Taiwan join the mainland, that this was, I think, something
that Taiwan was being expected to do. Is this approach of
non-negotiation acceptable to the United States?
Well, you've characterized it as non-negotiation. I'm not
sure that that is the characterization that I would use. What
they said was, they were asking for a firm deadline for unification,
not an indefinite deadline for unification. That's my understanding
of what the white paper said.
is very clear. There's a one-China policy. Any disputes about
timing, between the two, China and Taiwan, should be resolved
peacefully. And that's the policy. So we reject threats about
the use of force.
do you reject the use of deadlines?
It is for Taiwan and China to sort out this timetable on their
China were to ever make good on this threat and attack Taiwan
because of its failure to set any sort of firm deadline, would
the United States come to the aid of Taiwan?
Well, there are a number of hypothetical questions there,
but let me stick to the facts, and the facts are the Taiwan
Relations Act. The Taiwan Relations Act says that we would
view any use of force with grave concern, and we would consult
with Congress over the appropriate response.
the last several years, conventional wisdom of outside military
experts has been that, while threatening an invasion of Taiwan
would be -- it is easy to do that -- for China to actually
carry out such an invasion would be difficult given the state
of its military, its lift capabilities, air force, that sort
tell us whether that assessment at all has changed with China's
program to modernize its military forces? Is it more capable
today of carrying out an invasion, or is it some years away
from having that capability?
Our assessment that it would be extremely difficult for China
to carry out an invasion has not changed.