© Reuters. U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visits Zojoji Temple on the day of national mourning for the slain former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, Japan September 27, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool.
By Trevor Hunnicutt
TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to take aim at China’s actions toward Taiwan in a speech on Wednesday to American sailors serving in Japan.
Harris’ trip to Asia comes days after Chinese officials were explicitly pledged by US President Joe Biden to defend the island claimed by China.
“She will encounter threats to the international rules-based order and the way she views them,” said a senior administration official, who asked not to be named. here in the Taiwan Strait, a senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“She’s going to talk about that and what we’re doing to push back against those efforts and uphold the international rules and norms that have guided this region.”
Harris will speak during a visit to the largest overseas US Navy facility in the world at Yokosuka, a suburb of Tokyo. The base is home to 24,000 military and civilian personnel, as well as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, currently in South Korea for joint exercises aimed at deterring North Korea. Harris will visit the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas on Thursday.
China says that democratically governed Taiwan is one of its provinces. Beijing has long vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out using force to do so. Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.
Following a visit to Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August, China conducted its largest-ever military exercises around the island.
Aides said Harris would work on a unified approach to that challenge in the region, where leaders have cautiously watched rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Biden is scheduled to hold his first face-to-face meeting as president with China’s Xi Jinping during the Nov. 20 Group meeting in Indonesia.
Harris is in Japan, Washington’s closest regional ally, to lead a bipartisan US delegation to the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who pushed the country out of school. the pacifist theory that the country adopted after its defeat in World War II.