BEIJING, China: Following increasing Chinese military activity around Taiwan, the U.S. State Department has announced it would deepen relations with the self-ruled island.
Among Chinese military moves has been the almost daily air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defense zone.
In response to the U.S. moves with Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters his country had lodged “stern representations” with the United States.
Zhao Lijian noted that China urged the United States “not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue, immediately stop any form of U.S.-Taiwan official contacts..and not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
Following the increase in hostile Chinese actions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the United States was concerned about China’s actions with Taiwan.
In a written response to Reuters on Blinken’s remarks, China’s Foreign Ministry said the government intended to protect the country’s sovereignty.
“Don’t stand on the opposite side of 1.4 billion Chinese people,” it warned the United States.
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry reported another four Chinese J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine warfare aircraft entered its defense zone.
One day earlier, Taiwan said 25 Chinese military aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered its air zone, marking the largest incursion to date.
While Washington recognizes Beijing, rather than Taipei, the United States remains Taiwan’s most important international supporter and arms seller.
Further, by law the United States is required to provide the island with the means to defend itself.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has said Taiwan is an independent country and that it will defend its freedom and security.