Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a move by China to invade Taiwan and take the island by force would have “terrible consequences.”
Tensions have risen between the U.S. and China as the Asian country has increased military pressure on Taiwan, an island that claims its own independence, but that China sees as its territory.
“But here again, I hope that China’s leaders think very carefully about this and about not precipitating a crisis that would have, I think, terrible consequences for lots of people, and one that’s in no one’s interest, starting with China,” Blinken said at the Reuters Next conference on Friday, Reuters reported.
Blinken avoided saying specifically if the U.S. would send military forces to the area if China decided to attack Taiwan.
“We’ve been very clear and consistently clear, over many years that we are committed to making sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself and … we will continue to make good on that commitment,” Blinken said.
President Biden previously said the U.S. would send troops to Taiwan if the island was attacked by China, comments that sparked controversy.
China has held strong on its position that there is “no room for compromise” on Taiwan and anyone supporting Taiwan’s independence from China is “playing with fire.”
A group of bipartisan lawmakers traveled to Taiwan to meet with local officials in November as part of a larger delegation trip to visit several Asian countries.
A Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey in October showed 52 percent of Americans would support U.S. troops defending Taiwan in the case of a Chinese attack.
A recent survey showed U.S. citizens see China as the top international threat to the U.S. by a large margin at 52 percent.
Tensions between China and the U.S. have risen in recent months over Taiwan, human rights and the coronavirus.