The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense reported on Thursday that 51 Chinese aircraft and six Chinese ships were observed operating around Taiwan, as Beijing maintained its military activities near the island.
This includes 25 aircraft that crossed the Taiwan Strait’s median line, which serves as an unofficial border between the two sides, or entered Taiwan’s air defense zone.
In response to the U.S. government’s announcement that it will hold trade negotiations with Taiwan as a symbol of support for the island democracy that China claims as its own territory, Beijing said it will take action to ‘protect its sovereignty.’
Beijing launched missiles into the sea earlier this month to frighten Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island for the first time in 25 years.
The visit of Nancy Pelosi brought U.S.-Chinese ties to their lowest point in decades.
The administration of Chinese President Xi Jinping denounced the scheduled meetings as a breach of its position that Taiwan has no right to foreign contacts.
It cautioned the U.S. not to promote Taiwan’s efforts to make its de facto independence permanent, a move Beijing believes will lead to war.
Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, stated, “China strongly opposes this.” She demanded that Washington “completely respect China’s fundamental interests.”
The US expects China to increase its military, diplomatic, and economic ‘coercion’ of Taiwan, the nation’s top envoy in East Asia warned Thursday.
The warning from Daniel Kritenbrink came a day after Taiwain’s military held exercises to demonstrate its ability to defy Chinese pressure to accept Beijing’s political sovereignty over the self-governing island, in response to new rounds of threatening drills from China.
‘While our strategy has not changed, Beijing’s increasing coercion has,’ said Kritenbrink, Washington’s chief envoy for East Asian relations, in a teleconference call with reporters.
“These steps are part of an escalated pressure campaign… to intimidate, coerce, and weaken Taiwan’s resistance,” he continued.
Washington anticipates that efforts to exert pressure on the island’s leadership will continue in the weeks and months ahead.
Also on Thursday, Taiwan’s military staged an exercise simulating a Chinese missile invasion with missiles and cannons.
Taiwan and China divided in 1949 following a civil war; they have no official relations, but are tied by billions of dollars in trade and investment.
The island has never been a part of the People’s Republic of China, but the ruling Communist Party claims it must merge with the mainland, if necessary by force.
Kurt Campbell, the coordinator for the Indo-Pacific area under President Joe Biden, stated last week that trade discussions would “deepen our ties with Taiwan” but emphasized that policy would not change. The United States maintains extensive informal relationships with Taiwan, its ninth-largest commercial partner, despite the absence of diplomatic relations.
The announcement of the talks by the U.S. Trade Representative made no mention of tensions with Beijing, but stated that “formal negotiations” would strengthen trade and regulatory links, a step that would necessitate increased official interaction.
Taiwan’s ability to export more to the United States might impede China’s efforts to use its position as the island’s largest commercial partner for political gain.
In retaliation for Pelosi’s visit on August 2, China halted shipments of Taiwanese citrus and other food.
According to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, the trade discussions will lead to a “new page” in Taiwan’s relations with the United States.
“As the situation across the Taiwan Strait has lately intensified, the U.S. government will continue to take concrete measures to ensure security and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the government stated in a statement.
Relations between the United States and China are at their lowest point in decades as a result of disagreements over trade, security, technology, and Beijing’s treatment of Muslim minority and Hong Kong.
The U.S. Trade Representative stated that negotiations will be led by the American Institute in Taiwan, Washington’s unofficial embassy in Taiwan.
The Chinese spokesperson, Shu, stated that China always opposes any type of official exchanges between any country and the Taiwan part of China. China will take whatever means required to fiercely protect its sovereignty.
Washington asserts that it takes no position on the status of China and Taiwan, but desires a peaceful resolution to their disagreement. Federal law requires the U.S. government to ensure that the island has the means to defend itself.
Campbell stated on a conference call last Friday, “We will continue to take calm and determined steps to safeguard peace and stability in the face of Beijing’s continued efforts to undermine it, and to protect Taiwan.”
China purchases more than twice as much of Taiwan’s exports as its second-largest foreign market, the United States. The government of Taiwan reports that its enterprises have spent about $200 billion on the mainland. According to a census conducted in 2020, over 158,000 Taiwanese entrepreneurs, professionals, and others reside in the mainland.
China’s embargo on imports of citrus, fish, and hundreds of other Taiwanese food products has harmed rural areas viewed as President Tsai Ing-supporters, wen’s yet these products represent less than 0.5% of Taiwan’s exports to the mainland.
Chinese factories that assemble the world’s cellphones and consumer devices rely on Taiwanese processing chips. Beijing took no action that may have disrupted this flow. The island is the largest chip provider in the world.
On Sunday, a second delegation of U.S. senators led by Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Ed Markey arrived in Taiwan and met with Tsai. After their arrival, Beijing announced a second round of military exercises.
Taiwan, with a population of 23,6 million, has undertaken its own military exercises in response.
Thursday’s exercises at Hualien Air Base on Taiwan’s eastern coast simulated a response to a Chinese missile strike. Military soldiers practiced using Sky Bow 3 anti-aircraft missiles and a 35mm anti-aircraft gun manufactured in Taiwan, although neither weapon was fired.
Air force Major Chen Teh-huan stated, “We did not worry” when China initiated military drills. Chen stated that standard training includes being on call 24 hours a day to prepare for missile launches. We were prepared.
Agriculture, labor, the environment, digital technology, the status of state-owned companies, and “non-market policies” will also be discussed, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.
Washington and Beijing have been engaged in a tariff battle for three years on many of the same themes.
Among them are China’s backing for state-owned enterprises, which dominate many of its industries, and allegations that Beijing steals foreign technology and restricts access to a variety of fields in contravention of its market-opening obligations.
In response to allegations that China’s technological development practices violate its free-trade obligations and jeopardize U.S. industrial leadership, former President Donald Trump increased tariffs on Chinese goods in 2019. Biden has left in place the majority of these tariff increases.