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China threatens US with ‘unbearable cost’ over Taiwan

China's President Xi Jinping. (Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS/Abaca Press/TNS)
December 30, 2021

In a Thursday interview with China’s state-run CCTV and the official press agency Xinhua, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the U.S. would face “an unbearable cost” for allegedly condoning and abetting “Taiwan independence” forces.

Wang said the U.S. has “gone back on its commitment made when it established diplomatic relations with China, condoned and abetted ‘Taiwan independence’ forces, and tried to distort and hollow out the one-China principle.”

“This will put Taiwan into an extremely precarious situation and bring an unbearable cost to the U.S. itself,” Wang said.

Wang did not specify what costs China would attempt to impose against the U.S.

According to Xinhua, Wang said “the reunification of China is an unstoppable trend” and Taiwan has no choice but to accept those reunification efforts.

While Taiwan considers itself an independent nation, China maintains that Taiwan is a part of its territory and has increasingly alluded to such a reunification. Since 1972, the U.S. has recognized China and Taiwan as a single country, through the so-called “One-China Principle” but has maintained a strategic ambiguity in its stance towards Taiwan, continuing to interact with Taiwanese officials and provide defensive equipment to the island through the Taiwan Relations Act.

On Thursday, Wang said there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is a part of it. “This is an undeniable historical and legal fact.”

Wang said that while there is “political antagonism” between mainland China and Taiwan resulting from the Chinese Civil War, China maintained its territorial integrity even as the Chinese nationalists left the mainland and formed the Republic of China, the formal name for Taiwan’s self-styled government. Wang said Taiwan never lawfully separated from China and, as such, remains a territory of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Even as he maintained that Taiwan is a part of mainland China, Wang criticized Taiwan’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Wang said the DPP “are the ones responsible for current tensions in the Taiwan Strait.”

China has flown near-daily military flights around Taiwan for months, sometimes with dozens of bombers and fighter jets at a time. China has also staged beach landing drills near the island. According to a Congressional report last month, China is either nearing or has already achieved the minimum military capacity to invade Taiwan.

Under President Joe Biden, the U.S. has continued its practice of selling military equipment to Taiwan and the U.S. Navy has sailed so-called freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) through the international waters of the Taiwan Strait, which stretch between the island and mainland China. According to recent reports, the U.S. and Japan have also recently discussed how they might jointly respond to an attempted Chinese invasion of Taiwan.