‘Taiwan independence means war’: China’s defence ministry warns Joe Biden against siding with Taipei
- Military activities in the Taiwan Strait included flyovers by warplanes and fighter jets, part of Beijing’s ‘stern response to external interference’
- Nominee for US ambassador to the UN says Washington must help Taiwan push back against efforts by mainland
“We are seriously telling those Taiwan independence forces: those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war,” Wu told a regular press conference in Beijing.
“The Chinese People’s Liberation Army will take all necessary measures to resolutely thwart any form of Taiwan independence separatist attempts and firmly defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Beijing regards the self-ruled island as a breakaway province that must be reunited with the mainland, and has always said it will never renounce the option of using force. It opposes any foreign interference on this “internal affair of China”.
The military move coincided with a US carrier battle group entering the disputed South China Sea for freedom-of-navigation operations.
Beijing is closely watching whether the Biden administration seeks closer ties with Taiwan, as occurred in the past four years under Trump when Washington removed restrictions on official visits between the US and the island and boosted arms sales to Taipei.
Wu said it had been proven that any attempt to contain China was an impossible task and such attempts from the US would ultimately be self-damaging.
The spokesman then said in English: “To contain China, mission impossible”.
On Wednesday, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, nominee to be the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington must help Taiwan push back against mainland Chinese efforts to compromise its security.
In a confirmation hearing in the US Senate, she said Taiwan was “one of the strongest democracies in the region”, and the US needed to support and “stand by them”.
“We hope that the new US administration will work together with the Chinese side, uphold the spirit of non-conflict and non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, strengthen dialogue, focus on cooperation, manage differences and promote the healthy and stable development of China-US relations.
“The China-US relationship suffered serious difficulties during the term of the Trump administration, and military-to-military ties faced many risks and challenges,” Wu said.
He said the two militaries had had some “pragmatic exchanges” since Biden came into office, such as a video conference this week regarding the search for the remains of US prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.
“We hope … to strengthen communication, manage risks, avoid crises and push the relations between the two armies forward along the right track,” he said.