U.S. diplomat says bid to decide Taiwan’s future by non-peaceful means a ‘grave concern’

FILE PHOTO: An audience waves Taiwanese flags during the National Day celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

TAIPEI (Reuters) – A bid to determine the future of self-ruled Taiwan by “other than peaceful means” is a grave concern to the United States, a senior American diplomat said on Wednesday, amid the island’s renewed tension with China, which claims it as its own.

Washington does not have diplomatic relations with Taipei, but is Taiwan’s main arms supplier and strongest international backer.

“Any effort to determine Taiwan’s future by other than peaceful means is of grave concern to the United States,” Brent Christensen, director of the United States’ de facto embassy in Taipei, told reporters.

The United States would continue to support Taiwan in playing a “substantive role” in the international community, he added.

China has been infuriated by recent U.S. sanctions on its military, among several flashpoints in ties that include a bitter trade war, the issue of Taiwan, and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the busy waterway of the South China Sea.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu; Writing by Yimou Lee; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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