Taiwan tensions don't need to lead to 'anything like confrontation': Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon reaffirmed its longstanding support to Taiwan’s self-defense on Thursday and said there was no reason that tensions between China and Taiwan “need to lead to anything like confrontation.”

The remarks by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby were the first by President Joe Biden’s military about China-Taiwan tensions since he took office last week. They followed remarks by China’s defense ministry earlier on Thursday that independence for Taiwan “means war.”

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and believes that Taiwan’s democratically elected government is moving the island toward a declaration of formal independence, though Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly said it is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name.

Reporting by Phil Stewart and Idrees Ali; Editing by Leslie Adler