BEIJING (CHINA) – In a strongly worded warning China has warned Taiwan on Thursday, after recent increase in military activities near the island.
Taiwan, reported multiple Chinese fighter jets and bombers entering its southwestern air defence identification zone last weekend, prompting Washington to urge Beijing to stop pressuring Taiwan.
When asked about the air force’s recent activities in a monthly briefing, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said Taiwan is an inseparable part of China.
“The military activities carried out by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Taiwan Strait are necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security,” he said.
“They are a solemn response to external interference and provocations by ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” he added.
Wu said a “handful” of people in Taiwan were seeking the island’s independence.
“We warn those ‘Taiwan independence’ elements: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war,” he added.
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 called the Republic of China, its formal name.
While China has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, it is unusual for Beijing to make such overt, verbal threats of conflict.
Asked about the remarks, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said there was no reason that tensions between China and Taiwan “may lead to anything like confrontation.” He also reassured longstanding US military support to Taiwan’s self-defense.
“We have obligations to assist Taiwan with their self-defense and I think you’re going to see that continue,” said Kirby, a retired admiral, in the first Pentagon briefing of the Biden administration.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said China should think carefully and not underestimate the island’s determination to defend its sovereignty and uphold freedom and democracy.
Taiwan has denounced China’s threats and efforts at intimidation, and Tsai has vowed to defend the island’s freedom and not be coerced.