China’s new warnings to the United States over the Taiwan Strait alarm the United States
China is issuing repeated new challenges to the US view of international law regarding the freedom of the Taiwan Strait in meetings with its US counterparts, sources told Bloomberg.
The report comes as the defense chiefs of China and the United States clashed over Taiwan’s sovereignty at the Singapore security forum this week.
The United States has long believed the Taiwan Strait to be international waters, conducting frequent freedom of navigation exercises, while China has told the United States otherwise in recent meetings at a myriad of levels, said the source to Bloomberg.
China has long considered the Taiwan Strait its exclusive economic zone and has called for limits on foreign military vessels. China has often protested against US freedom of navigation routines there, but now concerns are showing up more in meetings between the countries, according to the report.
This potentially raises concerns that China could take steps to confront US Navy assets there – if it doesn’t use those issues as a potential pretext for a military move to Taiwan.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned in a speech at the IISS Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore on Saturday that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was trying to change the status quo in the region.
“Our policy hasn’t changed, but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be true for the PRC,” Austin said. “We are seeing increasing coercion from Beijing.
“We have seen a steady increase in provocative and destabilizing military activity near Taiwan. This includes PLA aircraft flying near Taiwan in record numbers in recent months – and on an almost daily basis.”
The remarks prompted China’s National Defense Minister Wei Fenghe to vow to fight for Taiwan – a notable statement given Vladimir Putin’s claims over parts of Ukraine and the “special military operation” that ‘he launched on February 24, with China’s support in some respects.
“If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, we won’t hesitate to fight,” Wei said. “We will fight at all costs, and we will fight until the end. This is the only choice for China.”
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