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Pentagon rules out "imminent invasion" of Taiwan by China

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he does not "see an imminent invasion" of Taiwan by China.
Austin said, in an interview on CNN that aired Sunday, "What we do see is China moving to establish what we would call a new normal -- we saw a number of centerline crossings of the Taiwan Strait by their aircraft." "That number has increased over time. We've seen more activity with their surface vessels and waters in and around Taiwan.
"We continue to work to make sure that we have the right capabilities in the right places to ensure that we help our allies maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific," he affirmed.
"In accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, you know, we're committed to helping Taiwan develop the capability to defend itself, and that work has gone on over time and it will continue into the future," Austin stressed.
He noted that he has spoken to his Chinese counterpart "on the phone and in person" but the communication channel between the two is "not open" right now.
"We'll do everything we can to continue to signal that we want those channels open, and I would hope that China would begin to lean forward a bit more and work with us," he added. (end) si.gb