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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Taiwan independence means war – Beijing

China has reacted sharply to rhetoric from politicians in Taipei ahead of a presidential election on the island

China is willing to allow “plenty of space” for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but will not tolerate separatist activities, government spokesperson Chen Binhua warned on Monday. The official was responding to comments by Taiwanese pro-independence politicians ahead of a presidential election on the self-governing island.

According to media reports, Lai Ching-te and Hsiao Bi-khim, both from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, recently claimed that the island continues to be threatened by an attack from the mainland.

Read more: Taiwan probes claims of submarine program data leak

Lai, who styles himself as a “worker for Taiwanese independence,” is campaigning for office in January’s presidential election and has chosen Hsiao, a former envoy to the US, as his running mate.

Chen, who is spokesperson for China’s State Council for Taiwan Affairs Office, said Beijing will not show leniency toward forces in Taiwan if they promote separatism.

He cited Beijing’s Anti-secession Law of 2005, which reiterated that China sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of its territory. The legislation allows for Beijing to employ arbitrary, non-peaceful means to achieve unification with the island, which has been self-governing since 1949 and the days of the Chinese Civil War.

Read more: Taiwan probes claims of submarine program data leak

“I want to emphasize that Taiwan independence means war,” Chen stated as he condemned Lai and Hsiao as separatists. He further accused the pair of distorting the facts and downplaying the risks of separatist activities to deceive voters ahead of the 2024 election.

At a meeting with US President Joe Biden in California earlier this month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned that Taiwan potentially remains the most dangerous issue in relations between Washington and Beijing.

Under the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act 2022, the US government is authorized to spend up to $2 billion a year in military grant assistance to the island from 2023 to 2027. Taiwan, meanwhile, has more than $14 billion of US military equipment on order.