TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that China’s attempts at conciliation and military intimidation were sending “mixed signals” to residents of the island that China claims its own territory must be conquered peacefully or by force.
Joseph Wu noted that China had flown 10 fighter jets in the Taiwan Air Defense Identification Zone on Monday and recently deployed an aircraft carrier battle group for exercises in waters near the island, while Beijing has also expressed regret for a train crash in Taiwan last week that left 50 people dead. .
“On the one hand, they want to charm the Taiwanese people by sending their condolences, but at the same time, they also send their military planes and military ships closer to Taiwan with the aim of intimidating the Taiwanese people,” Wu said. to journalists during a briefing at the ministry. .
“The Chinese are sending very mixed signals to the Taiwanese people and I would call it self-destructive,” Wu said.
China does not recognize Taiwan’s democratically elected government, and leader Xi Jinping has said “unification” between the parties cannot be postponed indefinitely.
China’s vast improvements in military capabilities and its growing activity around Taiwan have raised concerns in the United States, which is legally bound to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself and consider all threats to China’s security. island as matters of “serious concern”.
The Chinese military said on Monday that the new naval exercises were aimed at helping it “safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests,” terms often interpreted as being directed against Taiwan’s rulers who refused to give in to the Chinese military. Beijing demands to recognize the island as part of Chinese Territory.
Taiwan and China parted ways in the midst of civil war in 1949, and most Taiwanese are in favor of maintaining the current state of de facto independence while engaging in solid economic exchanges with the mainland.
China has also created the conditions for greater economic integration, while also targeting certain communities such as pineapple growers in hopes of weakening their support for the island government.
Chinese diplomatic pressure has also increased, reducing Taiwan’s number of formal diplomatic allies to just 15 and excluding its representatives from the World Health Assembly and other major international forums.