China’s ambassador to the United States warned on Friday that Taiwan’s independence will “most likely” lead to “military conflict” between the US and China.
During an interview with NPR, Qin Gang said Taiwan was “going down the road for independence” because of support from the U.S. Taiwan already governs itself as an independent nation, but China considers the island a part of its territory and has repeatedly alluded to reunifying with the island under mainland China’s governance.
“If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in a military conflict,” Gang said.
The ambassador’s comments come just days after China flew dozens of military aircraft around Taiwan while U.S. and Japanese warships conducted joint naval drills in the nearby Philippine Sea.
According to the Ministry of National Defense for the Republic of China, the formal name of the Taiwanese government, “39 [Chinese People’s Liberation Army] aircrafts (Y-9 EW*2, J-10*10, J-16*24, Y-8 ELINT*2, and H-6*1) entered #Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on January 23, 2022.”
During his interview with NPR, Qin also addressed the upcoming Winter Olympics, saying, “Beijing is ready.”
When asked about the United States’ decision to implement a diplomatic boycott of the Games due to the Chinese Communist Party’s genocide of the Uyghurs – a Muslim minority in the Xinjiang province – Qin said the accusations were “fabrications, lies and disinformation.”
However, he also claimed that some Uyghurs are terrorists.
“The destination for them is prisons,” Qin said. He also asserted that many Uyghurs were being sent to “vocational schools” because they have inappropriate thoughts that needed to be changed.
Qin described Taiwan as “the biggest tinderbox,” adding that “people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are Chinese.” He also said the CCP does not want war, but “China will not commit to giving up the un-peaceful means for reunification because this is a deterrent.”
Despite heightened tensions involving Taiwan, Qin said China’s “most important relationship” is with the United States. He said his mission in the US is clear: “Don’t mess it up.”
China has continued lashing out at individuals and entities who recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Beijing branch of the convenience store giant was fined $23,500 for presenting “incomplete maps of China,” an official notice stated. Beijing officials said the map “wrongly presented Taiwan province as an independent country.”