weeks after the head United StateJoe Biden alert China In Taiwan, the Chinese government made its most consistent statement yet on the subject, saying it would “resolutely crush any attempt” for the island’s independence.
Defense Minister Dr ChinaGeneral Wei Fengyi accused the United States of supporting Taiwan independence, saying the Americans were “violating their promises in Taiwan” and “interfering” in Taiwan’s affairs. China.
I will make this clear: If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from ChinaWe will not hesitate to fight. We will fight at any cost and we will fight to the end. This is the only option for ChinaThe minister said during the Shangri-La Dialogue, an Asian security summit held in Singapore.
Biden had said that China It was “flaunting danger” by flying its warplanes near Taiwan. The Americans promised to protect the island militarily if it was attacked.
Taiwan, which considers itself a sovereign country, has historically claimed it China. Already China It considers it a “rebellious” province. But Taiwan has its biggest ally in the United States. US law requires the United States to help the island defend itself.
The escalation in the speech of the two countries comes at a time when China Warplanes are increasingly being sent to Taiwan’s air defense zone, while the United States is deploying warships in the island’s waters.
United States and China Close to a military conflict?
The great fear is that the war will start with China Invasion of Taiwan. The Beijing government has said in the past that it can retake the island by force if necessary.
But most analysts say that’s unlikely – at least not yet.
There is debate among experts about whether China It has the military capacity to seize Taiwan. The island greatly increased its air and sea defenses.
But many agree that even Beijing realizes that such a move would be costly and disastrous, not only for Chinabut also for the rest of the world.
“There are a lot of statements, but the Chinese have to be very careful if they want to invade Taiwan.Especially at this time so close to the Ukraine crisis. “The Chinese economy is more closely linked to the global economy than the Russian economy,” says William Chung of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, a research institute affiliated with the government of Singapore.
The China She has consistently said that she seeks “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan – an argument that General Wei reiterated on Sunday – and that he will only act if faced with a provocation.
example of what China Taiwan’s provocation may be considered a formal declaration of independence. But this is something President Tsai Ing-wen emphatically avoids. From her point of view, Taiwan is already a sovereign country.
Most Taiwanese support this position – known as “status quo” – although there are those who want to move toward independence.
Taiwan’s president poses with an anti-tank missile launcher in a recently circulated government photo – Photo: Taiwan Presidency/Via BBC
Likewise, the United States will be reluctant to engage in a costly military conflict in Asia and has repeatedly indicated that it does not want war.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also took part in the dialogue, said in his speech that the United States does not support Taiwan independence, nor does it want a “new cold war”.
Both sides keep their weapons in Taiwan China“You have to appear strong and not want to be seen as holding back,” says Colin Koh, a researcher at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.
“But at the same time, they are very careful about entering into direct conflict. They look at each other’s rhetoric with open eyes, and both sides are trying to gauge the stakes.”
The meeting between General Wei and Austin at the Shangri-La Dialogue was seen as a positive sign, showing that both sides wanted to show that they were “still willing to sit down, talk, come to terms and agree not to agree,” Koh notes..
This would reduce the potential for errors of judgment that would lead to conflict and a “general revitalization of dialogue” – something that was missing in the Donald Trump administration (2017-2021), the researcher said.
Some saw Biden’s recent comments on Taiwan as a shift in the tone of US policy.
Despite this, analysts believe that China The United States will continue its tense rhetoric for the foreseeable future.
The China It may even intensify its “grey zone war” designed to tire Taiwanese military forces and patience by sending in more warplanes and creating disinformation campaigns, says Ian Chong, an expert on China from the National University of Singapore.
In the past, Taiwan accused China To launch disinformation campaigns before the elections to the island. Taiwan will hold important elections later in the year.
At least for the United States and America China“there is no political will to change attitudes” at the moment, especially with important events on the horizon – the US midterm elections in November and the 20th Congress of the Communist Party China In the second half of the year, when Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to consolidate his power.
“The good news is that neither side is willing to escalate tensions,” Chung says.
“But de-escalation does not mean we are in a better stabilization phase. So we are stuck in this situation for a while.”
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