(TibetanReview.net, Jan29’21) – The United States has on Jan 28 called remarks by China, equating moves toward Taiwan independence with war, “unfortunate” and reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the self-ruled island’s defence capability, reported the scmp.com Jan 29.
Earlier, at a monthly news briefing Jan 28, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian defended his country’s recent highly provocative military activities in the Taiwan Strait. He called it a necessary answer to “external forces” and Taiwan’s “independence forces.”
Claiming that a “handful” of people in Taiwan were seeking the island’s independence, Wu said, “We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war.”
Wu further said China’s military “will take all necessary measures to resolutely thwart any form of Taiwan independence separatist attempts”.
China believes that Taiwan’s democratically-elected government is moving the island towards a declaration of formal independence, though Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly said it is already an independent country, noted the sbs.com.au Jan 29.
While China has never promised to avoid the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, it is unusual for a government official to make such a threat, reported the Reuters and other news services Jan 28.
“We find that comment unfortunate and certainly not commensurate with our intentions to meet our obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and to continue to, as Secretary [Antony] Blinken at the State Department said yesterday, look for ways where we can cooperate with China, but we have obligations that we intend to meet,” the scmp.com quoted Pentagon press secretary John Kirby as telling reporters.
The Pentagon “sees no reason why tensions over Taiwan need to lead to anything like confrontation,” Kirby has said. “The United States military remains ready in all respects to meet our security commitments in the region.”
The TRA, which was passed when Washington officially switched its diplomatic recognition to China in 1979, outlines America’s willingness to defend Taiwan, although it stops short of defining the exact nature of its commitment.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province that must be eventually reunited with the mainland.