The Chinese armed forces said Thursday (28) that a declaration of independence from Taiwan “means war” and that it is carried out around the island to avoid “foreign influence” – that is, say from the United States.
Although he always makes gestures affirming his stance on what he sees as a rebellious province, military rhetoric has never been more explicit.
“We warn you: anyone who plays with fire will be burned and ‘Taiwan independence’ means war,” said Wu Qian, spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry.
He responded to a question about recent movements of military planes and ships through the Taiwan Strait, which coincided with the inauguration of US President Joe Biden last week and the dispatch of a US aircraft carrier to the region.
“These activities are necessary actions to deal with the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait. They are a solemn response to external interference and provocations from the Taiwan independence forces,” he said.
The rise in tone follows the change of government in the United States. During Donald Trump’s administration, Washington made a grand approach to the island, ruled since the Chinese revolution of 1949 by forces defeated by the Communists.
Although it has maintained diplomatic relations with China since 1979, which involves recognizing Beijing’s claim for sovereignty over Taiwan, the United States maintains a military protection agreement for the island and has it as a material client. defense.
At the same time, it does not recognize it as an independent country. Taiwan is called the Republic of China and claims to be independent, but be careful not to make any formal proclamation.
Beijing has always said it can use force to regain control of the island, even though from a military perspective it is a task that analysts find extremely expensive and that would entail the risk of war with the states. -United.
Yet Wu’s blunt speech is unusual and signals a test for the Biden administration. Trump had spent 2020 sending senior government officials to visit the island, angering the Chinese, but I didn’t go so far as to promote a visit by his secretary of state.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, said the US Navy would be more aggressive against Beijing’s expansion this year.
The Biden government has yet to clearly define what it wants in its dealings with the Chinese, although it has said relations with Taiwan are “rock solid.”
The American has pulled a goat out of the room by extending a pending nuclear deal with Russia and promoting an ambitious climate agenda, but the pending Cold War 2.0 wait that Trump initiated is waiting.
Its new diplomatic chief, Antony Blinken, only confirmed in testimony before the Senate that he agreed with the Trump administration’s characterization of Beijing’s treatment of Muslims in western China: genocide.
Meanwhile, Chief Xi Jinping’s war drums are played in the waters around China, his main strategic concern as they are the vital entry and exit line for trade.
On Thursday, six planes, including four J-10 fighters, were dispatched to the Taiwan air defense zone to test the island’s operational response speed.
In the South China Sea, source of tension because the Communist dictatorship considers it 85% as its own and the United States does not recognize it, a group of American aircraft carriers is maneuvering. Beijing has responded by promoting lightning military exercises in the region.
If analysts do not believe rival powers are in the interests of a military confrontation, the risk of an accidental shock remains in these contested regions. In the case of Taiwan, because of the diplomatic implications and the political importance for China, the situation is even more delicate.
Democratically-elected Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen insisted her country is free, but faces internal pressure for an official statement. This Thursday, China made it clear what everyone already knows: what such a move means for the country.