AP

China appears to wind down threatening wargames near Taiwan

Aug 9, 2022, 9:24 PM | Updated: Aug 10, 2022, 8:05 pm

BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday repeated military threats against Taiwan while appearing to wind down wargames near the self-governing island it claims as its own territory that have raised tensions between the two sides to their highest level in years.

The message in a lengthy policy statement issued by the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office and its news department followed almost a week of missile firings and incursions into Taiwanese waters and airspace by Chinese warships and air force planes.

The actions disrupted flights and shipping in a region crucial to global supply chains, prompting strong condemnation from the U.S., Japan and others.

An English-language version of the Chinese statement said Beijing would “work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification.”

“But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities,” it said.

“We will always be ready to respond with the use of force or other necessary means to interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements. Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process,” it said.

China says its threatening moves were prompted by a visit to Taiwan last week by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but Taiwan says such visits are routine and that China used her trip merely as a pretext to up its threats.

In an additional response to Pelosi’s visit, China said it was cutting off dialogue on issues from maritime security to climate change with the U.S., Taiwan’s chief military and political backer.

Taiwan’s foreign minister warned Tuesday that the Chinese military drills reflect ambitions to control large swaths of the western Pacific, while Taipei conducted its own exercises to underscore its readiness to defend itself.

Beijing’s strategy would include controlling the East and South China seas via the Taiwan Strait and imposing a blockade to prevent the U.S. and its allies from aiding Taiwan in the event of an attack, Joseph Wu told a news conference in Taipei.

Beijing extended the ongoing exercises without announcing when they would end, although they appeared to have run their course for the time being.

China’s Defense Ministry and its Eastern Theater Command both issued statements saying the exercises had achieved their targets of sending a warning to those favoring Taiwan’s formal independence and their foreign backers.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party administration are “pushing Taiwan into the abyss of disaster and sooner or later will be nailed to the pillar of historical shame!” Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei was quoted as saying in a statement on the ministry’s website.

Troops taking part in the exercises had “effectively tested integrated joint combat capabilities,” the Eastern Theater Command said on its Twitter-like Weixin microblog.

“The theater troops will monitor changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait, continue to conduct military training and preparations, organize regular combat readiness patrols in the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” spokesperson Col. Shi Yi was quoted as saying.

Taiwan split with the mainland amid civil war in 1949, and its 23 million people overwhelmingly oppose political unification with China while preferring to maintain close economic links and de facto independence.

Through its maneuvers, China has pushed closer to Taiwan’s borders and may be seeking to establish a new normal in which it could eventually control access to the island’s ports and airspace.

Along with lobbing missiles into the Taiwan Strait, the nearly week-long drills saw Chinese ships and planes crossing the center line in the strait that has long been seen as a buffer against outright conflict.

The U.S., Taipei’s main backer, has also shown itself to be willing to face down China’s threats. Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in deference to Beijing, but is legally bound to ensure the island can defend itself and to treat all threats against it as matters of grave concern.

That leaves open the question of whether Washington would dispatch forces if China attacked Taiwan. U.S. President Joe Biden has said repeatedly the U.S. is bound to do so — but staff members have quickly walked back those comments.

Beyond the geopolitical risks, an extended crisis in the Taiwan Strait — a significant thoroughfare for global trade — could have major implications for international supply chains at a time when the world is already facing disruptions and uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

In particular, Taiwan is a crucial provider of computer chips for the global economy, including China’s high-tech sector.

In response to the drills, Taiwan has put its forces on alert, but has so far refrained from taking active countermeasures.

On Tuesday, its military held live-fire artillery drills in Pingtung County on its southeastern coast.

Australia’s recent change of government is a chance to “reset” its troubled relationship with China, but the new administration must “handle the Taiwan question with caution,” a Chinese envoy said Wednesday.

China has brushed aside foreign criticism of its actions, and its ambassador to Australia said he was “surprised” that Australia had signed a statement with the United States and Japan that condemned China’s firing of missiles into Japanese waters in response to Pelosi’s visit.

Xiao Qian told the National Press Club that China wanted to resolve the situation peacefully, but “we can never rule out the option to use other means.”

“So when necessary, when compelled, we are ready to use all necessary means,” Xiao said. “As to what does it mean by ‘all necessary means?’ You can use your imagination.”

In London, the British government summoned Chinese Ambassador Zheng Zeguang to the Foreign Office on Wednesday to demand an explanation of “Beijing’s aggressive and wide-ranging escalation against Taiwan” following Pelosi’s visit.

“We have seen increasingly aggressive behavior and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region,” said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. “The United Kingdom urges China to resolve any differences by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”

___

Associated Press writer Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Lead water pipes pulled from underneath the street are seen in Newark, N.J., Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Pho...

Associated Press

Biden to require cities to replace harmful lead pipes within 10 years

The Biden administration has previously said it wants all of the nation's roughly 9 million lead pipes to be removed, and rapidly.

3 days ago

Facebook's Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on, Oct. 28, 2...

Associated Press

Meta shuts down thousands of fake Facebook accounts that were primed to polarize voters ahead of 2024

Meta said it removed 4789 Facebook accounts in China that targeted the United States before next year’s election.

3 days ago

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

8 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

11 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

11 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

...

SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

China appears to wind down threatening wargames near Taiwan