China ‘won’t tolerate’ Taiwan separatism
The People’s Liberation Army of China said it is not at odds with people living in Taiwan, whom it considers compatriots, but is ready to counter foreign meddling and attempts to proclaim the island an independent nation, its spokesman said on Wednesday.
“The more the United States and Japan make waves on the Taiwan question, the tougher actions we will take to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the military spokesman, Wu Qian, told Chinese media.
He said the military supported the goal of peaceful reunification with the island, but “will never tolerate the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces to split the motherland.” The official blamed the leadership of Taiwan for the ongoing escalation of tensions around it.
Taiwan, which claims to be the rightful representative of the Chinese people, has come into focus lately due to the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. It was speculated that Beijing may follow Moscow’s example and try to take over Taiwan by force. Beijing considers the island part of its territory, but has not governed it for decades since it became the last stronghold of nationalist forces during the Chinese civil war.
Speaking about the potential for an armed conflict in Taiwan on Thursday, its Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng predicted that after such a war, “everyone will be miserable, even the victors.”
Earlier in the week, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated Beijing’s plans to reintegrate Taiwan peacefully rather than conquer it. Speaking to the media during an annual press conference on Monday, he stressed that as an integral part of China, Taiwan was fundamentally different from Ukraine, an independent nation.
“Taiwan’s future lies in the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and in the realization of national reunification,” he said. “Taiwan will eventually return to the embrace of the motherland.”
Yi lashed out at foreign forces, including the US, who have been encouraging the island’s leadership to seek formal independence from China. The approach is part of a larger drive by Washington to implement its Indo-Pacific strategy, which seeks to contain Beijing and undermine its economic development, China believes.
The purpose of the US policy in the region is to “create an Indo-Pacific version of NATO,” the Chinese minister asserted. It runs counter to the desire of regional nations to “seek peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes” and will spell “a disaster that disrupts regional peace and stability,” Yi warned.