The Taiwan issue is front and center as Taipei and Beijing spar over a Chinese diplomat’s threats.
The day an American warship makes a port call in Taiwan will be the day the Chinese military launches an all-out assault against the island, a Chinese diplomat in the U.S. warned Friday. The senior official’s “words have sent a warning to Taiwan and drew a clear red line,” China’s nationalist tabloid Global Times asserted Monday.
“The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung, is the day that our People’s Liberation Army unites Taiwan with military force,” Li Kexin, the minister at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said at an embassy event, Taiwan media reports.
Li’s comment was in response to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018, which authorizes the U.S. Navy to make port calls in Taiwan. Congress passed the bill in September. China asserts that a visit by a U.S. warship would activate China’s Anti-Secession Law, allowing China to use force.
China directly threatened Congress in October, warning that the U.S. legislation represents a “provocation against China’s sovereignty, national unity and security interests,” asserting that there will be “severe consequences.” Now, Beijing is issuing direct threats to Taiwan as it grows increasingly concerned about Taiwan’s independence forces.
“If Taiwan attempts to hold an independence referendum or other activities in pursuit of de jure ‘Taiwan independence,’ the PLA will undoubtedly take action,” the Global Times editorial argued.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Taipei desires peaceful cross-strait relations, but it will not yield to Chinese pressure. “These methods show a lack of knowledge about the real meaning of the democratic system and how a democratic society works,” Taiwan’s MOFA said in response to Beijing’s threats.
China’s MOFA said that while it wants peaceful reunification, the Chinese armed forces “will resolutely safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
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