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2 Mar, 2022 03:51

Beijing reacts to US ‘defense’ delegation in Taiwan

China’s Foreign Ministry urged Washington to abide by past agreements and respect its sovereignty
Beijing reacts to US ‘defense’ delegation in Taiwan

The Chinese government has warned that Washington could “pay a heavy price” for continued intervention in Taiwan, after a US delegation visited to voice support for the island, and an American missile destroyer conducted yet another sail-through in the Taiwan Strait.

Led by retired navy admiral and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen, alongside several other American defense officials, the US delegation arrived on the island on Tuesday to show Washington’s “continued robust support for Taiwan,” an unnamed US official told Reuters. The group was received by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and will later meet with President Tsai Ing-wen.

Asked about the visit to Taiwan – which Beijing considers part of its own territory – Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin argued that any backing for the island is directly at odds with bilateral deals with Washington, in which the US has agreed to respect the ‘One-China’ policy that recognizes Taiwan as an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

“The attempt by the US to show support to Taiwan will be in vain, no matter who the US sends,” he said, urging the United States to “stop all forms of official interactions with Taiwan, and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent manner, lest it should further undermine the larger interests of China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Just days ahead of the Taiwan junket, a US guided-missile destroyer conducted what the Pentagon now deems a “routine” transit through the strait, the latest in a long series of similar moves under the Joe Biden administration, repeatedly condemned as provocative by Beijing. Wang warned that continued US military presence in the region could have dire consequences.

“If the US tries to intimidate and pressure China in this way, then we have this stern warning: the so-called military deterrence will be reduced to scrap iron when facing the steely great wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” adding that Washington could “pay a heavy price for its adventurist acts.”

As Mullen and other current and former national security officials, including the hawkish Michele Flournoy, touched down in Taipei on Tuesday, the Pentagon held a briefing for reporters outlining its approach to China policy, noting that Taiwan remains a priority. 

“Our support for Taiwan is rock solid,” said Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities, adding that Washington has provided some $18 billion in military aid in recent years and will continue to bolster the island’s defenses.