US President Joe Biden has said that he has spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Taiwan after Beijing sent a record number of military aircraft into the self-ruled island’s air defence zone (ADIZ) and officials in Taiwan said ties were at their worst in 40 years.
Asked by a reporter about “China’s provocation over Taiwan”, Biden said on Tuesday that he and Xi had discussed the issue.
“I’ve spoken with Xi (Chinese President Xi Jinping) about Taiwan,” Biden said at the White House. “We agree, we’ll abide by the Taiwan agreement, and we made it clear that I don’t think he should be doing anything other than abiding by the agreement.”
Taiwan said it tracked a record 56 Chinese aircraft in its ADIZ on Monday, in a series of military manoeuvres that began on Friday, China’s National Day, and prompted the island to scramble fighter jets in response. Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has stepped up cross-strait activities this year, with the number of recorded incidents on track to be double the level of 2020.
On Wednesday, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told the island’s parliament cross-strait tensions were at their worst in 40 years, and warned that Beijing could have the ability to mount a full scale invasion of the democratic island by 2025.
President Tsai Ing-wen earlier wrote of “catastrophic consequences” for the Asia Pacific region if Taiwan, which is preparing to mark its own National Day on October 10, were to fall to China.
“If its democracy and way of life are threatened, Taiwan will do whatever it takes to defend itself,” Tsai said in an article that was published on Tuesday in the prominent journal, Foreign Affairs.
Responding to Tsai’s article, China’s state-run Global Times accused the president and her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of turning Taiwan’s democracy into an “extreme ideology”.
“Their fate is bound to be a catastrophe when they attempt to separate Taiwan from the (sic) China,” the Communist Party newspaper said in an editorial that also poured scorn on the US and the island’s western allies.
“The further the DPP authorities go down the path in colluding with external forces, the closer they move to their tomb.There is no force in the world whose will to “defend Taiwan” is stronger than China’s will to fight against secession and achieve reunification. No force dares or is willing to fight to the death against the world’s second largest economy, as well as a nuclear power, in order to prevent China’s reunification.”
While the United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with the island it is bound by law to protect Taiwan and is Taipei’s biggest source of military and political support. Washington has no specific ‘agreement’ with Beijing on cross-strait relations.
“‘Agreement’ probably means adhering to the One China policy in the sense that you give diplomatic recognition to Beijing, but you still support the right of Taiwan to defend itself,” said Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride who is in Hong Kong.
Source: AL Jazeera news
BDST: 1418 HRS, OCT 06, 2021