The United States must “contest” the launch of missiles over Taiwan by China, a top US military officer said on Tuesday. Seventh Fleet commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas warned that such acts by Beijing could become the norm if allowed to go unchallenged.
“It’s very important that we contest this type of thing. I know that the gorilla in the room is launching missiles over Taiwan,” Vice Admiral Thomas told reporters in Singapore. “It’s irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters.”
Thomas warned that, “if you don’t challenge it,” these actions could lead to the Taiwan Strait being militarized in a similar way as the South China Sea.
The Seventh Fleet is based in Yokosuka, Japan and is the largest forward-deployed fleet in the US Navy. It is a key part of the US military’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region, making the admiral’s words all the more significant.
His comments come amid high tensions between Beijing and Washington after a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the self-governing island of Taiwan.