President Donald Trump said on Sunday that China "knows what I'm going to do" if the Communist country tries to invade Taiwan.
"It is a very big subject. It is a very powerful subject, but I think China understands what I am going to be doing," Trump told Fox News.
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Trump's comment comes amid a recent push by his administration to develop closer ties with the island country as Beijing flexes its muscles.
Earlier this month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar visited Taiwan, where he discussed deepening economic and security partnerships with the democratic nation. Azar is the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since 1979.
Azar's visit culminated in a U.S. agreement to sell drones to Taiwan, as well as a recommitment from Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen to work on a free trade agreement with Washington.
"The relationship between Taiwan and the U.S. has never been closer," Tsai said earlier this month. "Taiwan is on the frontlines of freedom and democracy."
China, which claims sovereignty over the island country, has repeatedly agitated against Taiwanese-American cooperation, sanctioning arms sales to Taipei and sending fighter jets into Taiwanese airspace.
Under the leadership of Chinese president Xi Jinping, Beijing has redoubled efforts to take over neighboring territories, often violating principles of self-sovereignty. China's military recently upgraded its capabilities to conduct amphibious operations—a move that some experts warn could be preparation for a possible invasion of Taiwan.
While Washington is not treaty-bound to assist Taiwan if it is invaded, U.S. Navy vessels have conducted multiple freedom of navigation exercises in the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from China, as a possible demonstration of America's readiness to defend Taiwanese interests.
In the case of China's continued aggression against the United States and its allies, President Trump said Sunday that he is considering a full "decoupling."