China has warned Taiwan that attempts to seek independence from Beijing would result in war.
China believes that Taiwan’s democratically-elected government is moving the island towards a declaration of formal independence, however the island’s President has repeatedly stated that they are already independent and no declaration is needed. The intensification of rhetoric comes after China stepped up its military activity in the Taiwan Straits with the Taiwanese government accusing Beijing of flying a dozen military jets over its airspace on Sunday as an act of intimidation.
When asked about the recent activities in the region Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian justified the actions by claiming that they were necessary “ to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security”, he added that they are a “solemn response to external interference and provocations by ‘Taiwan independence’, he then issued a direct warning to Taiwan stating that “those who play with fire will burn themselves” and that “Taiwan independence means war”.
Taiwan’s mainland affairs council fired back saying that China shouldn’t underestimate their determination to defend the islands sovereignty and uphold their current freedoms and democracy, something communist China is notably lacking in. Beijing views Taiwan as an integral part of China that is currently nothing more than a breakaway province, whereas Taiwan believes they are a sovereign nation state. Both countries have had separate governments since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 which saw the communists under Moa Zedong propelled to the control of mainland China whilst the opposing Chinese nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek withdrew to Taiwan.
Since then China has endeavoured to undermine Taiwan’s position and influence within the pacific region, and tried to limit its international activities. The United States switched recognition from Taiwan to communist China in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter, but is still legally bound under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure that the island is able to defend itself. Many in the U.S have observed that China’s actions were intended to test new President Joe Biden and his administration. It seems like the new administration doesn’t intend to deviate from the firm stance the Trump administration took against China.
Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken described China as the greatest threat of any nation to the U.S during his confirmation hearing and stated that he believed “President Trump was right in taking a tougher approach to China”, he did go on to say that he didn’t agree with the way in which President Trump went about it, but that “the basic principle was right”. On Wednesday President Biden assured Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga that he is committed to defending Japan and its control of the Senkaku Islands which are claimed by both China and Japan.
ARTICLE: NATHAN REID
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CENTAPOST