Beijing official warned on Wednesday that China will respond with drastic measures to any moves that Taiwan makes towards formal independence, noting they expect intensified Taiwan’s provocations and outside meddling in the course of next year.
China has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure in the past two years to assert its sovereignty claim over democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, fueling concerns in Washington and provoking Taipei’s anger.
Stressing that provocations by the separatist forces and the external meddlers could increase and intensify in coming months, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang underscored that Beijing would act promptly to any crossing of the red lines on independence, noting at the same time that China is willing to try its utmost to seek peaceful reunification with Taiwan.
Reiterating its call for dialogue on an equal basis, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council pointed late on Wednesday that, in order to safeguard peace across the Taiwan Strait and in the region, it has maintained not provoking policy, and had urged Beijing to make a correct judgment on the situation and seriously reflect on its actions towards the island.
Often described as the most sensitive issue in China’s ties with the United States – despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties – Taiwan has emerged as a key factor in their strained relations since the US is the island’s most important international backer and arms supplier.
Following for a long time the policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect the island in the event of a Chinese attack, Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan – which vows to defend its freedom and democracy- with the means to defend itself as an independent country despite the fact that it recognizes only one China.