US VP Harris is going to push against China’s Taiwan policy in Japan, according to Reuters

© Reuters U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visits Zojoji Shrine during a funeral for slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Japan September 27, 2022.

By Trevor Hunnicutt

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to focus on China’s crackdown on Taiwan in a speech to American sailors serving in Japan on Wednesday.

Harris’ trip to Asia comes days after Chinese officials objected to US President Joe Biden’s open pledge to defend the island, which is claimed by China.

In anticipation of Harris’s comments, including protests off the coast of Taiwan, one senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she would be “threatened by the international rules-based system and how she views them.”

“She talks about that and what we’re doing to oppose those efforts and stand up for international laws and regulations to govern this region.”

Harris speaks during a tour of the US Navy’s largest overseas installation in Yokosuka, outside Tokyo. The base is home to 24,000 military and civilian personnel, as well as the USS Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier currently in South Korea participating in joint exercises to defend against North Korea. Harris will visit the demilitarized zone that separates the Koreas on Thursday.

China claims the democratically governed Taiwan as one of its territories. Beijing has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has never known that it would not take force to do so. Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claim to sovereignty and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

Following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China conducted its largest-ever military drills around the island.

Harris will work on a unified approach to that challenge in the region, aides said, as leaders look closely at rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Biden is expected to have his first face-to-face meeting with China’s Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia on November 20.

Harris was in Japan, Washington’s closest regional ally, to lead Biden’s bipartisan U.S. delegation to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has moved away from the pacifist doctrine it pursued after losing World War II.

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