At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on April 7, General Mark Milley agreed with Senator Josh Hawley that the best approach for the U.S. to assist Taiwan is “strengthening Taiwan’s defense.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. made a $100 million missile upgrade deal with Taiwan. It supports the island’s air defenses against foreign jet fighters.

General Milley answered Senator Don Bacon during the meeting on April 5 that Taiwan is a “defendable island.” Taiwan has the advantage of the Taiwan Strait and hilly terrain, making an amphibious invasion from China difficult.

The Taiwan Relations Act, enacted after Washington transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, requires the U.S. to assist the island in defending itself. Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has never abandoned the use of force to reclaim it.

Milley told the Aspen Security Forum in Washington last year about the U.S. defending Taiwan. He said that the U.S. military could “absolutely have the capability there’s no question about that.”

He continued that the U.S. should retain a policy of “strategic ambiguity,” keeping Beijing guessing as to whether the U.S. would use its military to respond.

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