China's military sorties near Taiwan changing status quo: premier

05/27/2022 05:37 PM
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A Chinese J-10A fighter, one of the models of the PLA aircraft that was found to have entered Taiwan ADIZ on May 25. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
A Chinese J-10A fighter, one of the models of the PLA aircraft that was found to have entered Taiwan ADIZ on May 25. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) China is changing the status quo in the region by conducting military sorties near Taiwan, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said Friday after the People's Liberation Army (PLA) maneuvers were criticized by the United States' top diplomat a day earlier.

Sending military planes to conduct exercises near Taiwan is "an act of changing the status quo" and an "inappropriate use of force," Su said when asked to comment on the speech on the U.S.' China policy by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

In his speech, Blinken criticized Beijing for its "increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity" against Taiwan that he said were "deeply destabilizing," risked miscalculation, and threatened the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait.

Blinken specifically cited the sorties of PLA aircraft in airspace near Taiwan on an almost daily basis as an example of the destabilizing behavior.

The U.S. continued to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side of the Taiwan Strait and expected cross-strait differences to be resolved peacefully, Blinken said.

While thanking Blinken for voicing concern over China's military maneuvers, Su said Taiwan would defend itself and work with other countries to contribute to the peace and stability of the region.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said it was pleased to see the secretary of state reaffirming the U.S.' commitment to Taiwan's security.

According to MOFA, Blinken's speech showed that the U.S. is very concerned about China's attempts to exert military and economic pressure on Taiwan and isolate the country.

Meanwhile, Ting Shu-fan (丁樹範), professor emeritus at National Chengchi University, observed that Blinken merely reiterated the U.S.' existing stance by saying the country would try to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan in accordance with the one China policy.

Blinken's remarks did not come as a surprise, nor did they contain the more assertive wording used by President Joe Biden, Ting said, referring to the president's off-the-cuff comments at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday suggesting the U.S. would be willing to intervene militarily if China were to attack Taiwan.

Biden later stressed that the U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed, something that Blinken once again stated during his policy speech.

The U.S. "remains committed to our one-China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiqués [and] the Six Assurances," the top diplomat said.

Nevertheless, Chen Fang-yu (陳方隅), a political science professor at Taipei-based Soochow University, took note of Blinken's use of a Taiwan Relations Act provision in his speech.

Blinken said the U.S. would "maintain our capacity to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of Taiwan."

Chen, one of the editors of the Facebook page US Taiwan Watch, argued that although the provision remains ambiguous, it could serve as the legal basis for a U.S. intervention in the event of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

(By Matt Yu, Shen Peng-ta and Teng Pei-ju)

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