A Chinese senior general and military chief claimed on Friday, May 29, 2020, that the country would initiate a military attack on its neighboring island, Taiwan if the city-state continued plans to become an independent nation.
Earlier, Chinese President XI Jinping had claimed that the island was a part of China and also warned of using military invasion if Taiwan tries to secede from the former country. The latest claim of the military official would instigate a rhetorical escalation between China and the democratically ruled island amid the civil unrest from Hong Kong against the passage of new security laws on Thursday.
China’s Chief Claims of Military Attack
Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Li Zuocheng, the chief of the Joint Staff Department and member of the Central Military Commission, made a statement that it would use force to settle the political dispute with Taiwan. On the celebration for the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law, the chief staff reflected that “the 2005 law gives the country the legal basis for military action against Taiwan if it secedes or seems about to”.
Li stated, “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions,” He insisted by adding that, “We do not promise to abandon the use of force, and reserve the option to take all necessary measures, to stabilize and control the situation in the Taiwan Strait.”
Li, one of China’s few senior officers with combat experience, was taking part in China’s ill-fated invasion of Vietnam in 1979 and echoed Beijing’s sentiment that Taiwan has been China’s most sensitive territorial issue.
Taiwan Still Stands for its Sovereignty
China has been offering a policy of a “one country, two systems” model with a high degree of autonomy for Taiwan over years, the island every time turned down the policy and indicated that it had no interest to be part of rule by an autocratic China. Recently, Taiwan has denounced China’s repeated military drills at the strait near the island.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and her Democratic Progressive Party won presidential and parliamentary elections by a landslide in January, vowing to stand up to Beijing, and Tsai reaffirmed that Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.
China has been deeply suspicious of the intention of Tsai whom it accuses of being a separatist bent on declaring formal independence. On Wednesday, Taiwan President reaffirmed that her country rejected China’s sovereignty claim in Taiwan, and instead she called for talks so that both sides could coexist. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s view of Beijing was getting bitter since China’s parliament passed new national security legislation for Chinese-claimed Hong Kong on Thursday.
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