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China's countermeasures in gear against Tsai-McCarthy's sneaky meeting

《环球时报·英文版》 2023-04-06

Amphibious armored vehicles attached to a brigade of the PLA Navy's Marine Corps make their way to the beach-head during a maritime offense and defense training exercise. Photo:China Military

US anti-war organization Center for Political Innovation protests against Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's transit in New York on March 29. Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Maupin

China will adopt firm and resolute measures to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity in responding to the latest meeting between the regional leader of the Taiwan island and the US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy - an erroneous move that delivered a heavy blow to the already strained US-China relations, damaging the political foundation of the two countries and making the cross-Straits situation more intense.

Chinese experts believe that it's inevitable that China will take countermeasures to such high-profile meeting that allowed US officials and congressional members' contact with Tsai Ing-wen, who is on a transit trip through the US. Such erroneous move gravely violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués, seriously infringed upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and sent seriously wrong signals to the separatist forces for Taiwan independence, Chinese authorities said.

Multiple Chinese authorities including China's top legislature, the Taiwan Work Office of CPC Central Committee, Chinese defense ministry and Chinese foreign ministry issued statements on early Thursday morning, condemning the Tsai-McCarthy meeting.

The US acts with Taiwan to connive at Taiwan independence separatists' political activities in the US, conduct official contact with Taiwan and upgrade the substantive relations with Taiwan, and frame it as a transit. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués, Mao Ning, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a press conference on Thursday.

It seriously infringes upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends an egregiously wrong signal to the Taiwan independence separatist forces. China will take strong and resolute measures to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity, Mao said.

During a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Taiwan question is the core of China's core interests. Those who seek to manipulate the one-China principle won't be tolerated by the Chinese government and Chinese people.

It's wishful thinking to want China to make compromise on the Taiwan question, and those who have such thinking will only shoot themselves in the foot, Xi told von der Leyen.

To fight back

The Chinese mainland will inevitably take countermeasures, as from the provocative visit of former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August 2022, any serious provocation will lead to our firm response including the countermeasures to Taiwan independence separatists,Wu Xinbo, the dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Those measures include our law enforcement ships and warships cruising across the Taiwan Straits, in addition to the military drills probably in the near future, he said.

Pelosi's blatant provocative visit last year triggered unprecedented military exercises around the island, and China also halted China-US theater commanders talk, defense policy coordination talks, military maritime security consultative mechanism and suspended cooperation on illegal immigration repatriation, drug control and climate change. China also sanctioned Pelosi and her immediate family members.

What we can learn from McCarthy and other US officials who insisted on meeting Tsai despite of China's strong opposition is that the essence of the US' China policy is confrontation and conflicts. The US has continued its provocations on the Taiwan question and is crossing the red line, which will also lead to more fierce conflicts with China, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

While the one-China principle is the core of China-US political foundation, the US side is now playing with fire, which is also making the bilateral relations that are already at a low point more worrisome, some experts said. Now, the US needs China to work together on various issues such as trade and business and climate change but the overall atmosphere has been damaged, they noted.

It's difficult to see any breakthrough in the China-US relations as the overall strategy of the Biden administration has been established. Any temporary improvements would be just technical, Wu said.

For instance, the US had been discussing the re-arrangement of the visit of the Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China, but as long as the US doesn't correct its erroneous moves on the Taiwan question, there won't be any progress on the matter, the expert said.

In high alert

While the Chinese Defense Ministry has yet to announce concrete countermeasures in its statement, media on the island of Taiwan have been reporting intensive PLA activities near the island since Wednesday.

The defense authority on the island of Taiwan said in a press release on Thursday that it detected three PLA vessels and a PLA Ka-28 anti-submarine warfare helicopter around the island over the past few days.

The Ka-28 is a type of vessel-borne helicopter, and its flight paths illustrated in the press release show it took off from and landed in a sea region to the southwest of the island of Taiwan, so it very likely operated from one of the PLA vessels, analysts said.

The PLA has made regular combat patrols and exercises around the island of Taiwan, sometimes to the east side of it, a daily routine over the past few years, and the intensity of such activities became higher after then US house speaker Nancy Pelosi provocatively visited the island of Taiwan in August 2022 and the PLA countered with an unprecedented large-scale exercise that locked down the island from all directions.

On Wednesday, shortly before the meeting between Tsai and McCarthy, the defense authority on the island of Taiwan said the Shandong aircraft carrier group of the PLA Navy sailed through the Bashi Channel and past the waters southeast of the island of Taiwan, as it started its first exercise in the West Pacific.

The Shandong's voyage was also confirmed by Japan's Ministry of Defense Joint Staff on Thursday. Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force spotted a PLA Navy flotilla consisting of the aircraft carrier Shandong, the Type 054A frigate Liuzhou and the Type 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Chaganhu sailing in West Pacific waters to the southeast of the island of Taiwan, according to a press release from Japan's Ministry of Defense Joint Staff.

This is the first time the Shandong has been confirmed sailing in the region, the Japanese press release said. The PLA Navy's other aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, has had several far sea exercises here over the past few years, hosting intensive fighter jet sorties in the process.

From the West Pacific to the east side of the island of Taiwan, the PLA can not only surround the island of Taiwan and apply military pressures to the Taiwan independence forces, but also deter and intercept potential foreign military interference, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese mainland military expert, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Tsai is scheduled to return to the island of Taiwan from the US on Friday. On her return flight, it will be interesting to see if she will be tracked, monitored or even escorted by PLA warplanes and warships operating around the island, Fu said.

US anti-war organization Center for Political Innovation protests against Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's transit in New York on March 29. Photo: Courtesy of Caleb Maupin