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China should ‘prepare for military clash’ with Taiwan, state-run newspaper warns

China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2017. (State Department/Released)
March 23, 2018

A Chinese state-run newspaper reported on Thursday that the country should prepare for military action with Taiwan and pressure the U.S. over cooperation on North Korea.

The statements comes just days after the U.S. passed a law to boost ties with Taiwan.

“The mainland must also prepare itself for a direct military clash in the Taiwan Straits. It needs to make clear that escalation of U.S.-Taiwan official exchanges will bring serious consequences to Taiwan,” the paper read, which is published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily.

The newspaper also outright suggested some specific military advancements that could be made by China, further escalating tensions and putting Taiwan in a delicate situation.

“This newspaper has suggested that the mainland can send military planes and warships across the Taiwan Straits middle line. This can be implemented gradually depending on the cross-Straits situation,” it said.

The newspaper report comes just one day after Taiwan sent ships and an aircraft to shadow a Chinese aircraft carrier group through the narrow Taiwan Strait. The tense military activity was a precaution by Taiwan, with both sides ultimately conducting their necessary business as expected.

Reuters reported that Beijing was furious with President Donald Trump after he signed legislation last week that encourages the U.S. to send senior officials to Taiwan in order to meet Taiwanese counterparts.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Wong said in Taipei that the United States’ commitment to Taiwan has never been stronger and the island is an inspiration to the rest of the region.

The China-Taiwan territorial conflict has been perpetuated for decades, with China laying claim to Taiwan as its own. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province, with Chinese President Xi Jinping saying recently that the country would face the “punishment of history” if it attempted any form of separatism.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying echoed Jinping’s sentiments and expressed China’s opposition in having official contacts between the country and Taiwan.

“The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed, and it is absolutely impossible, to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China,” Hua said, quoting Xi.

China’s hostility towards Taiwan has risen since 2016 with the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the country’s pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. China fears Tsai’s desire for a formal independence, which would certainly cross a red line for Beijing. However, Tsai has stated she wants to maintain the status quo and is committed to ensure peace.