Financial news aggregator Bloomberg reports. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei, China issued a call for the US to stop sending naval vessels through the Taiwan Strait, warning that Beijing would respond with “further measures.”
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The Chinese ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, stated on Tuesday that Beijing saw the US’s transits over Taiwan as an escalation and an attempt to support the “separatist” government in Taipei. The warning came as Massachusetts Democrat Senator Edward Markey was leaving the island for the second time in less than two weeks.
In response to a question about possible naval patrols, Qin said, “The US side has done too much and going too far in this region.” I urge my American counterparts to hold back, to show restraint, and to avoid further escalating the situation. China will retaliate against any actions that threaten its sovereignty and territorial integrity. China will retaliate.
After China retaliated to Pelosi’s visit with a series of military drills around the island, including likely ballistic missile launches over Taipei, the Biden administration announced it would conduct air and maritime transits through the Taiwan Strait. As part of its “one China” policy, the United States has traditionally maintained that it does not need to formally recognize the democratically elected government in Taipei.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, the Navy has made an average of nine trips per year through the strait over the past decade. This is significantly fewer than the “100 navigations” Qin claimed the US makes annually. On July 19, the USS Benfold, a destroyer, made the most recent passage through the waterway that is public knowledge.
Similarly, among the 149 members of Congress who have visited Taiwan in the past decade, Pelosi was not even the most senior.
Qin warned that the Biden administration shouldn’t underestimate China’s resolve on the issue of US congressional visits to Taiwan. He was responding to White House arguments that lawmakers could act independently. He also said that trips like that go against the foundational agreements between the United States and China.
Qin argued that “Congress is not an independent, uncontrollable branch” of the US government. The U.S. Congress has a duty to support the administration’s international agenda. For this reason, Senator Markey’s trip to Taiwan left us feeling very frustrated and unsatisfied. It’s inflammatory and counterproductive.
Also on Tuesday, Kyodo News cited sources saying that a group of Japanese lawmakers representing both major parties would be traveling to Taiwan the following week. Tokyo’s Defense Ministry has previously claimed that Chinese ballistic missiles had landed in what Japan considers to be its exclusive economic zone after Pelosi’s visit.
The Chinese military’s response to the visit was defended by Qin, who claimed the exercises were “open, transparent, and professional.”
After Pelosi’s visit, “we are handling a serious fallout,” Qin told reporters in Washington. A strong resolve, determination, and capability of the Chinese government and the people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity, he warned, should not be underestimated by the United States.
Qin also minimized the likelihood of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, claiming ignorance of any imminent plans.
Concerns that China has accelerated plans for an invasion are “baseless,” he stressed, and he called the public’s anxiety “overwhelming.”
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