US Envoy in Taiwan Says Washington Will Help Island Defend Itself

Sandra Oudkirk heads the de facto US embassy in Taiwan

The head of the de facto US embassy in Taiwan said Friday that Washington is committed to helping the island defend itself and is looking to boost relations with Taipei.

“The United States has a commitment to help Taiwan provide for its self-defense,” said Sandra Oudkirk, who took the post as the head of the American Institute in Taiwan back in July.

Since the US severed relations with Taiwan in 1979, it has continued selling weapons to the island. In a 1982 agreement with China, known as the third communiqué, the US agreed to gradually reduce arms sales to Taiwan, but instead, the deals have steadily increased over the years.

Oudkirk said the US commitment to Taiwan is “rock solid,” repeating a term commonly used in Washington. “The value of our partnership and our support for Taiwan is rock solid,” she said.

Last week President Biden said the US has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan in the event of a Taiwan invasion even though the US has no obligation to do so. The White House was quick to clarify that Biden’s statement was not a change in policy, but the claim from the president did its part to stoke tensions with Beijing.

On top of Biden’s hawkish rhetoric, Taiwan confirmed this week for the first time in decades that there is a small presence of US troops on the island. When acknowledging the US presence, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also said she has “faith” that the US would intervene if Chine moved to take Taiwan.

On top of the military support, the US is also taking steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taipei, which is just as provocative in the eyes of Beijing. “We are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan,” said Oudkirk.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.