Taiwan’s President Sai Ing-wen has said that his country’s relationship with the US remains strong amid changes in US administration. The statement comes at a time when the US Navy is increasing its presence in the South China Sea. Sai Ing-wen said on Tuesday that a large number of military aircraft are being sent by China to Taiwan’s southwestern airspace, but US military support remains intact.

In his televised address on the occasion of the traditional lunar new year, he said, “I would like to say that Taiwan will not bow under pressure and will not move in haste by getting support.” “As long as the Beijing authorities are ready to resolve the conflict, we are also ready to negotiate with them on the condition of equality and dignity.”

Sai’s remarks come at a time when the US Pacific Fleet has practiced in the South China Sea in which its ships and aircraft, including its aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and Nimitz, participated. The seventh fleet of the US said in a statement that Tuesday’s exercise is intended to increase coordination between command and control capabilities.

China claims ownership over almost the entire South China Sea and has also built several artificial islands in it. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said US practice is not conducive to regional peace and stability. He said, China will continue to take necessary steps to protect its national sovereignty and security and will work with regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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