China has warned that attempts by Taiwan to seek independence “means war”. The warning comes days after China stepped up its military activities and flew warplanes near the island. It also comes after new US President Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to Taiwan, and set out his stance in Asia. China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state.
The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan in a deal that has a potential value of up to $2.37 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday. China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin LMT.N, Boeing Defense, Raytheon RTX.N and other U.S. companies it says are involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Monday.
The U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services is scheduled to visit Taiwan in coming days in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. The visit by Alex Azar, will likely create new friction between the U.S. and China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory to be annexed by force if necessary.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the people of Taiwan to accept it “must and will be” reunited with China. In a speech marking 40 years since the start of improving ties, he reiterated Beijing’s call for peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis. However, he also warned that China reserved the right to use force. While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
The Chinese Oscars, the Golden Horse Awards, highlighted the controversial topic of Taiwanese independence, showing a political divide between directors and actors. Documentary filmmaker Fu Yue used her acceptance speech to call for Taiwan’s recognition as ‘an independent entity.’ The chair of the committee, Oscar award-winning director Ang Lee, commented that everyone is allowed to speak freely.
The US State Department has approved a potential arms sale to Taiwan, estimated to be worth $2.2bn, the Pentagon said. The deal is for 108 Abrams tanks, 250 Stinger missiles and related equipment. China’s foreign ministry has called on the US to “immediately cancel” the proposed sale. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory which should be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The US Navy sailed two destroyers, the USS Stethem and USS William P. Lawrence, through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, referring to the operation as a “routine” transit. While Chinese vessels shadowed the US warships during the transit, officials said that all interactions were “safe and professional.” The Trump administration has sought to make the Taiwan Strait transits more routine, with the operations now taking place on a monthly basis. The approximately 110-mile-wide strait, which separates the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, is seen as a potential geopolitical flashpoint should Beijing ever seek to take the island of Taiwan by force.
Terry Gou, the head of the world’s largest electronics supplier, Foxconn, said Wednesday he plans to run for president of Taiwan, bringing his pro-business and pro-China policies to what is expected to be a crowded field for next year’s election. Gou announced that he would be putting himself up as a hopeful in the opposition Nationalist Party primary ahead of next year’s election, shaking up the political landscape at a time of heightened tension between the self-ruled island and Beijing.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan’s east coast, late Tuesday night, killing at least 4 people, injuring more than 200, and leaving over 140 people unaccounted for. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said she ‘ordered search and rescue workers not to give up on any opportunity to save people while keeping their own safety in mind.’
China has accused Taiwan of “venomously” attacking the World Health Organization (WHO), seeking independence and conniving with internet users to spread racist comments, after the WHO chief said racist slurs against him had come from the island. Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO, due to China’s objections, has infuriated the Taipei government during the coronavirus outbreak.