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Biden says US-Taiwan coastguard co-operation deal will enable US to better respond to shared regional threats

US President Joe Biden has said that the recently reached co-operation agreement between the US and Taiwanese coast guards will “help ensure” that the United States “is positioned to better respond to shared threats in the [Indo-Pacific] region and to conduct co-ordinated humanitarian and environmental missions”.

Biden, who made the remarks during a speech held at the US Coast Guard (USCG) Academy in New London, Connecticut, pointed out that the USCG’s partnerships with nations throughout the region – which are designed to take on issues such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing – are “essential to building the muscle of co-operation”.

“When distant-water fishing fleets travel thousands of miles to strip maritime resources without regard to catch regulations or internationally established economic zones, it hurts everyone,” said Biden, adding that this is why Washington sent USCG cutter Bertholf to partner with Ecuador last summer “to disrupt and deter a Chinese distant-water fleet operating near the Galapagos Islands”.

Biden stated that the US is fielding requests from nations all across the Indo-Pacific region that are “eager to partner with our coastguard”, adding that the USCG will be “an increasingly central element in our engagement in the Indo-Pacific to protect lives, preserve the environment, [and] safeguard sovereignty throughout the region”.

“Longstanding, basic maritime principles like freedom of navigation are a bedrock of a global economic and global security. When nations try to game the system or tip the rules in their favour, it throws everything off balance. That’s why we are so adamant that these areas of the world that are the arteries of trade and shipping remain peaceful, whether that is the South China Sea, the Arabian Gulf, and, increasingly, the Arctic,” said Biden.

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