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China warns Taiwan ‘playing with fire’ over ties with US

Soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/WikiCommons)
October 06, 2020

China has increasingly alluded to the potential for war as it has warned the U.S. and Taiwan against strengthening ties with one another.

The Chinese state media outlet Global Times, in a recent tweet, warned Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen against following through with her vow to strengthen ties with the U.S., saying she was “playing with fire” and that if she violated China’s Anti-Secession laws, “A war will be set off and Tsai will be wiped out.”

Global Times tweeted, “Voice:Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen, who pledged deeper ties with the US at a dinner for a visiting senior State Department official, is clearly playing with fire. If any act of her provacation violates the Anti-Secession Law of China, a war will be set off and Tsai will be wiped out.”

The Global Times tweet is one example of Chinese references to war. A recent Chinese military advertisement features soldiers running through the forest and firing machine guns and ends with the launch of nine ballistic missiles, which land in a fiery barrage of explosions. A translation of the song playing in the ad sings, “If war breaks out, this is my answer.”

Another recent Chinese military ad depicts a nuclear-capable Chinese H-6k bomber dropping a bomb on Andersen Air Force Base in the U.S. island territory of Guam.

The references to war and depiction of an attack on U.S. territory has also been accompanied by increased Chinese military activity in the South China Sea. Chinese warplanes flew over Taiwanese airspace as U.S. diplomat Keith Crach visited the country in September.

Bonnie S. Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and an expert on Taiwan and China told the Times, “I don’t think it’s just bluster, and I don’t think it’s just about venting anger. I think there is growing pressure — and that Xi Jinping finds that it’s useful to display that pressure.”

The increase in Chinese war rhetoric also comes amid the 70th anniversary of the Korean War,  known in China as the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea. China has reportedly long used the Korean War as a tool to stoke anti-American attitudes. China has reportedly set the opening of the Korean War memorial museum and a series of films on the conflict, from China’s perspective, to address the occasion. One documentary’s description says the film is meant “to carry forward the great spirit of resisting U.S. aggression.”