“The value of our partnership and our support for Taiwan is rock solid,” Oudkirk said. “We are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan.”

 The U.S. wants to deepen its relationship with Taiwan, the self-ruled island that has become a major point of conflict in the strained U.S.-China relationship, and will work to counter Beijing’s “malign” influence, a U.S. diplomat said Friday.

In her first public news conference, Sandra Oudkirk, the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy, reiterated that the U.S. remains deeply committed to Taiwan and is actively working on new areas of cooperation such as in cybersecurity and supply chains.

“The value of our partnership and our support for Taiwan is rock solid,” Oudkirk said. “We are committed to deepening our ties with Taiwan.”

The U.S. support for Taiwan comes as tensions between China and the island are now at the highest in decades, with Beijing stepping up its military harassment by flying fighter jets toward Taiwan. China has not ruled out force to reunify with Taiwan, which split from the mainland during a civil war in 1949.

The U.S. switched diplomatic recognition of China from the ruling Nationalist Party government in Taipei to the Communist Party in Beijing in 1979, but has continued to maintain a strong unofficial relationship with the self-ruled island.

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