Mike Pence, the Vice President of America is set to ramp up Washington’s criticism of Beijing in a speech on Thursday. He has accused China of “reckless harassment” of US military forces in the South China Sea and vowed to improve US relations with Taiwan.
Pence’s speech will be delivered at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington. It would come just days after a Chinese military vessel almost collided with a US Navy ship in the waters around the disputed Spratly Islands on this Sunday.
According to excerpts of his speech seen by CNN, Pence will say Beijing is also trying to project its power farther than ever before.
Pence will also call attention to an incident on Sunday in which the US said that a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards (41 meters) of the USS Decatur as it was conducting freedom-of-navigation operations in the sea of South China.
Pence will likely describe the encounter as a “reckless harassment,” and add that the United States Navy will still continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows it where it’s national interests demand. He will send a message that US will not be intimidated and will not stand down.
Pence will also take a forceful line on Taiwan, the self-ruled island which Beijing has sought to control for a long time, saying that while their administration will continue to respect their One China Policy, Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the people of China.
Under the “One China Policy,” Washington has officially recognized Beijing and removed its embassy from Taiwan. However, it still continues to regard the sovereignty status of the island as unresolved.
Pence will also condemn efforts by Beijing to pressure allies of Taipei in order to sever their ties and embrace China, which he will quote as “threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait.”
Thursday’s strident planned speech comes in at a time when trade war between the US and China continues to increase, and a week after President Donald Trump had accused Beijing of meddling in US politics using state controlled media.