China ready to annex Taiwan by 'any means possible'
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For the third time in just four days, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has dispatched military aircraft for drills on the island of Taiwan, with 56 warplanes being dispatched a day after the USA voiced “concerns”. The show of force consisting of fighter aircraft and bombers came as the US claimed that the statement sent a very wrong message.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry statement proclaimed that China will take all measures necessary to crush any “Taiwan independence” attempts.
China sees the island of Taiwan as an extension of its sovereign territory and does not recognise it as an independent state. Only 14 of the 193 recognized UN nations acknowledge Taiwan as an independent country.
With tension mounting in the area, Taiwan’s regional leader Tsai-Ing-wen published an article entitled “Taiwan and the fight for Democracy”, claiming in the piece, “If Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.”
China mocked the piece in the Global Times saying: “It seems that the Tsai authorities are really scared.”
With 34 J-16 fighters and two SU-30 fighters, as well as two Y8 anti-submarine warfare aircraft and 12 H-6 bombers, China have sent their strongest show of force in recent times to both Taiwan, and the West.
Warning of alliances between the West and Pacific nations, China made clear indications that a conflict may follow.
“The strategic collusion between the US and Japan and the DPP authorities is becoming more audacious, and the situation across the Taiwan Straits has almost lost any room for manoeuvre teetering on the edge of a face-off, creating a sense of urgency that the war may be triggered at any time,” wrote the piece in the Global Times.
Taking the warning further, Chinese authorities though the publication said: “Now we will like to warn the DPP authorities and their supporters: do not continue to pay with fire.”
Sending a message to the Taiwan forces, the statement concluded: “If the US and the DPP authorities do no take the initiative to reverse the current situation, the Chinese mainland’s military punishment for ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionist forces will be triggered… Time will prove that this warning is not just a verbal threat.”
With the USA, UK and Australia signing the AUKUS deal designed to counter Chinese threats in the Indo-Pacific area, Bloomberg Tweeted: “Taiwan is the focus of rival displays of might by the world’s major military powers this week, with record sorties by Chinese military planes off one coast and flotillas of US and allied warships off another.”
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said the territory was ready to fight.
“If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan, we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment.”
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US State Department spokesman Ned Price has said: “We urge Beijing to cease military, diplomatic and economic coercion against Taiwan.”
With China already having demonstrated in the past that it is willing to defend against uprisings and dissidence, for example in the National Security Law seen in use against risings in Hong Kong, China has both soft and hard power options on the table when dealing with Taiwan.
As the show of forces and the flexing of muscles continue, tension will remain high in the region, and no doubt see the intervention of the United Nations Security Council to attempt to resolve the standoff.
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