General of the ADF Angus Campbell has stressed the need for a peaceful resolution to the potentially “disastrous” territorial dispute between China and Taiwan following an escalation in tensions.
Over the past few weeks, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defence has reported a ramp up in flyover activity from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) over the southwestern air defence identification zone (ADIZ), sparking renewed concern over an imminent conflict between the nations.
In an address to the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, India, Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Campbell weighed in on the ongoing territorial dispute.
GEN Campbell issued a warning over the consequences of a military confrontation, calling on officials to commit to a diplomatic resolution.
"Conflict over the island of Taiwan would be a disastrous experience for the peoples of the region. It is something we should all work to avoid," he said.
"There is a pathway to a future through peaceful dialogue. But it's a hard path, and it needs to be worked."
Earlier this year, the US Department of State reaffirmed its support for Taiwanese independence in response to China’s activity over the ADIZ.
“The United States notes with concern the pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbours, including Taiwan,” a spokesperson said.
“We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected representatives.”
The Biden administration stressed it would advance “shared prosperity, security and values” in the Indo-Pacific region, including a “deepening of ties with democratic Taiwan”.
“The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on Taiwan,” the spokesperson added.
“The United States maintains its longstanding commitments as outlined in the Three Communiqués, the Taiwan Relations Act, and the Six Assurances. We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability.
“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”
Before leaving office in January, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo scrapped long-standing restrictions regulating diplomatic relations between the US and Taiwan.
Pompeo said the “self-imposed” restrictions undermined US sovereignty, “appeasing” the Chinese communist regime to the detriment of an allied democracy.
This move followed the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s (DSCA) approval of almost $2.7 billion in arms to Taiwan in late 2020.
[Related: Has Beijing changed its tune on Taiwan?]