Taiwan vows to deepen military alliance with US despite Chinese warning
The Foreign Ministry of the self-governing island territory of Chinese Taipei has pledged to further deepen its close military alliance with the United States following recent phone talks between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart.
Friday’s announcement came a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping sternly warned Biden not to “play with fire” on Taiwan, reiterating Beijing’s concerns over a planned provocative visit to Taipei by the House Speaker. of the United States, Nancy Pelosi, while urging her to respect the “One China” policy. .
“Public opinion cannot be violated. Those who play with fire will be burned. I hope the United States can see it clearly,” the Chinese president warned in a strong statement, according to a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency.
Ahead of the call, White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters it was “keeping the lines of communication open with the Chinese president,” describing him as “the ‘one of the most important bilateral relationships’ the United States has had in the region and the world.
It is the latest in a series of similar warnings issued by Beijing in response to reports last week that Pelosi, 82, second in the presidential succession, could visit Taipei in August.
If Pelosi goes ahead with her planned trip to the island – claimed by China as part of the mainland – she will be the highest ranking US politician to visit Taipei since 1997, when the hawkish House Speaker Republican at the time, Newt Gingrich, pay a visit.
Last week, Biden administration officials expressed concern that China may attempt to impose a no-fly zone over Chinese Taipei ahead of the top US lawmaker’s potential visit in an effort to reverse the trip amid fears of a further escalation of tensions in the region.
According to unnamed officials quoted in US news reports, Biden also mirrored the National Army’s concerns about Pelosi’s possible visit, saying, “I think the Army thinks it’s not a good idea. at the moment, but I don’t know what the status is.”
Reacting to Biden’s alarming remarks, Pelosi then said last week that while it was important to show support for Taiwan, she would not discuss her travel plans due to a “security issue”.
Pelosi further noted that she “anecdotally” heard comments from Biden regarding his upcoming visit, but did not hear anything directly from the US president.
“I think what the president was saying was maybe the military was scared my plane was going to be shot down or something. I don’t know exactly,” Pelosi pointed out, quoted in a report by CNN.
To further escalate the already heightened tension between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan, the US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group, including a missile destroyer and a missile cruiser, entered the South China Sea. southern part, which is almost entirely claimed by China.
The group is expected to cross the Taiwan Strait, a strategically sensitive waterway that separates Chinese Taipei from mainland China.
US naval forces have conducted such maneuvers near Chinese waters about once a month, angering Beijing, which sees such crossings as a sign of support for Taiwan’s self-governing island territory.
Under the “one China” policy, nearly every country in the world recognizes Beijing’s sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, including the United States, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with the territory but continue to support its anti-China stance and supply it with massive amounts of armaments.