China warns Taiwan that independence 'means war'

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Jan 28, 2021, 04.27 PM(IST)

Taiwan flag Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, 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.

China on Thursday warned Taiwan that "independence means war" after recent stepped up military activities near the island.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, 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.

Beijing, to this end, said its armed forces were only acting in response to provocation and foreign interference.

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.

Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian recently 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.

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.

The Chinese incursions coincided with a U.S. carrier battle group entering the disputed South China Sea to promote "freedom of the seas".

China routinely describes Taiwan as its most important and sensitive issue in relations with the United States, which under the former Trump administration ramped up support for the island in terms of arms sales and senior officials visiting Taipei.

Taiwan has denounced China's threats and efforts at intimidation, and Tsai has vowed to defend the island's freedom and not be coerced.

President Joe Biden's government, in office for a week, has reaffirmed its commitment to Taiwan as being "rock solid", potentially auguring further strains with Beijing.

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