US, Taiwan ‘Monterey Talks’ girds up to counter China


Beijing: With Taiwan’s top National Security Council (NSC) officials set to for strategic dialogue with US President Joe Biden’s administration staff next week, reports indicated that the talks will focus mainly on arms sales policy and security cooperation so that Taipei can defend itself against China.
The ‘Monterey Talks’ an annual high-level bilateral defence dialogue is considered to be the most important strategic collaboration between the two countries. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the senior security officials said that the US is expected to focus on upgrades to existing equipment to enhance immediate combat capabilities as a response to uncertainties in the cross-strait situation, reported Taipei Times.
According to the officials, the US considers any Chinese military action in the first island chain to fall within its “weapons engagement zone,” they said. The US Indo-Pacific Command’s engagement is “closer than people think,” with interactions shifting from “transactional” to “collaborative,” the official said.
The major part of this upcoming meeting will be focussed on talks on security and according to sources the discussions are bound to centre on the Biden administration’s policies for arms sales to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s delegation will be led by NSC Secretary-General Wellington Koo. Even though it is not been made public as to what all discussions will see the light of the day during the meeting, as per Taiwan’s local media outlet, there will be working-level meetings will be held this week ahead of the Monterey Talks in Washington next week.
Colonel Stephen Fiscus, assistant chief of staff for force development at US Marine Forces Pacific said that III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa island (a formation of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force of the United States Marine Corps) is focused on the “ability to stand in — by our footprints, our posture, our relationship with partners and allies — to kind of get the enemy in our guard” within their engagement zone, rather than remaining at a distance.
Koo will be accompanied by his deputy York Chen and Ministry of National Defense Vice Minister Bo Hung-hui, while the U.S. side will include representatives from the State Department and National Security Council, according to reports.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said that there lies no confusion over the communication channels between Taiwan and US and it is quite clear. However, he refused to comment on whether there will be any agreements between the two.
Apart from Chang, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou also declined to make any statement but he did mention that the two nations would further deepen their cooperation on an already solid foundation, as per the media portal.


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