MANILA - China “has taken an irresponsible step of a different kind” by launching several ballistic missiles near the Taiwan Strait, a strategic waterway where seaborne goods sail through, US State Secretary Antony Blinken said on Saturday.
China’s decision to launch a ballistic missiles near Taiwan is a cause of concern for countries in the region, Blinken said in a press conference here.
“We’ve been hearing from allies and partners across the region who are deeply concerned about the destabilizing and dangerous actions,” he said.
“What happens to the Taiwan strait affects the entire region. In many ways, it affects the entire world because the Strait, like the South China Sea, is a critical waterway,” he said.
Blinken noted that “almost half the global water fleet and nearly 90 percent of the world’s largest ships” pass through the Taiwan Strait as they deliver goods across different trading routes.
“Beijing has taken an irresponsible step of a different kind,” he said.
China began holding its largest military drills in various points around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional delegates visited Taipei earlier this week.
China, which sees Taiwan as a "renegade province," said the visit of the high-ranking US politician was a form of “interfering in China's internal affairs and seriously undermining China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
This after Pelosi claimed that the United States will "not allow" China to isolate Taiwan.
"They may try to keep Taiwan from visiting or participating in other places, but they will not isolate Taiwan by preventing us to travel there," she told reporters in Taipei.
"We will not allow them to isolate Taiwan," she said.
Blinken echoed Pelosi’s statement, saying the United States would continue to “stand by [its] partners.”
“We always stand by our partners. It is important to underscore that because of what is happening north of here, in the Taiwan strait,” he said.
“We will continue to support Taiwan in prospering peace and stability because we know that a free and open Indo-Pacific demands it,” he said.