During an interview with NBC News host Lester Holt, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressed the growing tensions between Taiwan and China, saying that the United States is committed to defending Taiwan if necessary but is “just interested in a peaceful outcome.”
“What is the U.S. commitment to Taiwan?” Holt asked.
“Well, we have, as you know, we have the Taiwan Relations Act and the three communiques that go with it,” Milley said. “They come into being in the, during the Nixon administration. Those are still the U.S. government’s policy and it’s really an issue of ambiguity. But what we want with the U.S. government’s policy is, is that whatever issues Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China have, they resolve them peacefully, in accordance with the will of the people of the island of Taiwan and the people of China. We’re just interested in a peaceful outcome.”
Holt later asked, “Do we have the capability to defend Taiwan?
“We absolutely have the capability to do all kinds of things around the world to include that if required, those are the policy presidential decisions, whether or not we do that, and hence the policy of the Taiwan Relations Act,” Milley responded. “But we absolutely have the capability. There’s no question about that.”
The relationship between China and Taiwan has been worsening as China acts more aggressively towards the country. Last month, China sent over 150 military planes into Taiwanese air space, including ones that were capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told ABC Australia in response to China’s aggression. “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment. I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”