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Editorial: China’s intimidation of Taiwan meant to pressure new U.S. leadership

It is obvious that this is aimed at pressuring the new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden not to intervene in the Taiwan issue. It must be said that this is a dangerous provocation that threatens regional stability.

 

In the two days immediately after the inauguration of the U.S. administration, China had a total of 28 aircraft, including fighters and bombers, enter Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. China can be said to have displayed its military power on an unprecedented scale.

 

Chinese military aircraft have also repeatedly crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the de facto ceasefire line between China and Taiwan. This could lead to an accidental clash with Taiwan. It must stop immediately.

 

The various actions of the Chinese military are believed to have been taken on the assumption of an emergency occurring in the Taiwan Strait. China is said to be aiming to build up its military capability by 2027, the centennial of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, to prevent U.S. forces from intervening if China’s military invades Taiwan.

 

In a speech at an international conference, Chinese President Xi Jinping indirectly criticized the United States, saying, “To engage in cliques, a new Cold War, exclusion, threats and intimidation against others, to warn of decoupling, cutting off supplies, sanctions at every turn can only drive the world to division.” But it is China that is raising tensions unnecessarily.

 

It is reasonable that the Biden administration has come out with a hard-line stance against China, continuing on from the administration of former President Donald Trump.

 

Taiwan’s representative to the United States attended Biden’s inauguration ceremony at the invitation of the organizers. It was reportedly the first time for Taiwan’s representative to be invited to the inauguration ceremony of a U.S. president since the severing of diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan in 1979. This indicates the United States’ intention to strengthen its involvement with Taiwan.

 

On the entry of Chinese aircraft into Taiwan’s ADIZ, the U.S. State Department issued a statement urging China to cease military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan. It also stressed that the United States would continue to support Taiwan in maintaining its self-defense capability.

 

China’s intimidation of Taiwan is an act that shakes the security of East Asia as a whole. It is unreasonable for China to claim that the U.S. response to China’s actions is “interference in domestic affairs.”

 

A sense of urgency over China’s self-righteous behavior, including the deprivation of liberties in Hong Kong and the establishment of military bases in the South China Sea, is widely shared in the United States regardless of party affiliation. The Xi administration should be aware of the fact that this series of actions has become a regional threat.

 

A large number of private Chinese ships were found to have approached Taiwan’s Matsu Islands last year where they continued to dredge sea sand, among other activities. China using its civilian vessels as a cover for provocative acts is similar to the movement of Chinese fishing boats around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture.

 

China’s threat to Taiwan is not a fire on the other side of the river for Japan. Taiwan shares the values of democracy with Japan. It is important for Japan and other U.S. allies to work closely together to make efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan.

 

— The original Japanese article appeared in The Yomiuri Shimbun on Jan. 27, 2021.

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