China angered as US considers navy visits to Taiwan

Elias Hubbard
December 14, 2017

Earlier this week, Li Kexin, a senior Chinese diplomat, threatened that China would use force on Taiwan, if the United States sent its ships to Taiwan's main port.

Trump signed into law Tuesday defense budget legislation that authorizes the possibility of mutual visits by naval ships between Taiwan and the U.S. Should any such visits occur, they would be the first since the U.S. severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 and established relations with China.

Beijing regularly calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue between it and the United States.

Asked about the remarks at a regular news briefing, An Fengshan, spokesman for China's policy-making Taiwan Affairs Office, said Taiwan was an internal matter for China and that China opposed any form of military contacts between Taipei and Washington.

"The day that a U.S. Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People's Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force", Chinese media quoted Li as saying.

"China is resolutely opposed to this, and we have already lodged stern representations with the USA government", Lu told a daily news briefing.

"We firmly oppose any form of official exchanges or military links between Taiwan and the USA, as well as United States arms sales to Taiwan", Lu said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said that Chinese officials "showed a lack of knowledge of how a democratic society worked" despite their desire to "win over hearts" in Taiwan.

The Chinese air force has this year carried out a series of drills near to Taiwan, prompting Taiwan to scramble jets to shadow them.

"Such a raised military posture that may impact upon and harm regional peace and stability and cross-strait ties does not give a feeling of responsibility, and the global community does not look favorably upon this", Huang was quoted as saying.

Beijing wants Taiwan, which has been effectively independent since 1950, to be reunited with mainland China. Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China but will defend Taiwan's security.

Taiwan's well-equipped military is armed with mostly US weapons but has been pushing for more advanced weaponry in response to what it sees as a growing threat from China. China sees Taiwan as a renegade island that should be brought back, even by use of force.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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