China reaffirms threat of military force to annex Taiwan - GulfToday

China reaffirms threat of military force to annex Taiwan

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A People's Liberation Army member looks through binoculars during military exercises around Taiwan. AP

China on Wednesday reaffirmed its threat to use military force to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control, amid threatening Chinese military exercises that have raised tensions between the sides to their highest level in years.

The statement issued by the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office and its news department followed almost a week of missile firings and incursions into Taiwanese waters and airspace by Chinese warships and air force planes.


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The actions have disrupted flights and shipping in a region crucial to global supply chains, prompting strong condemnation from the US, Japan and others.

An English-language version of the Chinese statement said Beijing would "work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification."

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Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks during a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday. AP

"But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities," the statement said.

"We will always be ready to respond with the use of force or other necessary means to interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements. Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process," it said.

China says the threatening moves were prompted by a visit to Taiwan last week by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Taiwan says such visits are routine and that China used that merely as a pretext to up its threats.

In an additional response to Pelosi’s visit, China said it was cutting off dialogue on issues from maritime security to climate change with the US, Taiwan’s chief military and political backer.

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An Air Force pilot navigates an aircraft next to a fighter jet during military exercises around Taiwan. Reuters

Taiwan's foreign minister warned Tuesday that the Chinese military drills reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific, while Taipei conducted its own exercises to underscore its readiness to defend itself.

Beijing's strategy would include controlling the East and South China seas via the Taiwan Strait and imposing a blockade to prevent the US and its allies from aiding Taiwan in the event of an attack, Joseph Wu told a news conference in Taipei.

Beijing has extended the ongoing exercises without announcing when they will end.

Taiwan split with the mainland amid civil war in 1949 and the island's 23 million people overwhelmingly oppose political unification with China, while preferring to maintain close economic links and the status quo of de-facto independence.

Through its maneuvers, China has pushed closer to Taiwan’s borders and may be seeking to establish a new normal in which it could eventually control access to the island’s ports and airspace.

Associated Press

 

 

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