China says it reserves the right to use force over Taiwan as ‘last resort’
A Chinese Communist Party spokesman has said the country reserved the right to use force over Taiwan as a last resort.
Sun Yeli, the spokesperson for the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, said on Saturday that under compelling circumstances, the country reserved the right to use force for the reunification of China and Taiwan.
He said the reunification meets the interests of all, including Taiwan compatriots, Reuters reported.
Tensions between China and Taiwan reignited earlier in August when US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.
Following this, China initiated military drills with live-fire exercises along the Taiwan strait which went on for weeks threatening the island of 23 million people.
During these drills, shipping and air traffic were drastically disrupted for Taiwan, raising concerns about potential conflict in the region even as the world continues to deal with the impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Last month, US president Joe Biden said American forces, men and women, would defend Taiwan “in the event of a Chinese invasion.”
While there are concerns that China and US may go to war over Taiwan, experts say full-fledged conflict could be more catastrophic for the communist country’s own interests.
Meanwhile, Taiwan has said China’s military threats are “absolutely not an option” adding that such aggression would “only push our two sides further from each other.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said earlier this week that China should not mistake competition within the island’s multiparty democratic political system for weakness and “attempt to divide Taiwanese society.”
“I want to make clear to the Beijing authorities that armed confrontation is absolutely not an option for our two sides,” she said.
However, China has refused to acknowledge Taiwanese self-determination, and has vowed to eventually unify it with the mainland.
The latest developments also come at an unprecedented time when Chinese president Xi Jinping is expected to win a third five-year term as the ruling communist party’s general secretary at the congress to be held on Sunday.
“Xi doesn’t want to be seen as a leader who is entering into his third term – which is historic – with a hint of weakness, and he wants to go down in history as a leader who unified Taiwan. So certainly the costs for Taiwan will rise,” Harsh V Pant, a foreign policy analyst at Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) told The Independent last month.
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