chinese action on taiwan within the next few months?


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China Breaks With Taiwan Precedent, Omitting Call for ‘Peaceful’ Unification

Beijing dropped calls for pursuing peaceful ties or peaceful unification with Taiwan in an annual policy blueprint, breaking with nearly three decades of precedent in a sign that it is taking a tougher tack toward the self-ruled island.

China’s yearly government work report, delivered to the legislature by Premier Li Keqiang on Friday, also reiterated the government’s commitment to “oppose and deter any separatist activities” seeking independence for Taiwan, an island democracy that Beijing claims as its territory.

Mr. Li’s address came two days after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen kicked off her second termwith a fresh call for Beijing to open dialogue with Taipei in a way that respects what she called Taiwanese sovereignty and democracy—an appeal that China has repeatedly rejected.

While not a formal response to Ms. Tsai’s inaugural address, Mr. Li’s remarks underscored the increasingly frayed ties between Beijing and Taipei, which have traded barbs over each other’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and competed for international acclaim for their successes in containing the contagion.

The work report coincided with Beijing’s proposal, also presented Friday at China’s legislature, to strengthen national-security enforcement in the restive and largely self-administered Chinese territory of Hong Kong—underscoring Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s increasingly uncompromising approach to securing national unity on its periphery.

In his speech, Mr. Li repeated the usual appeals for the Taiwanese people to support unification with mainland China. But he pointedly avoided any reference to the integration happening in a “peaceful” fashion, nor did he commit to cultivating ties with the island in a “peaceful” way—omitting a word that Beijing had used in relation to Taiwan in every annual work report since 1992.

In dropping the word “peaceful,” China’s Communist Party leadership is reminding Taiwan that its ultimate goal is to gain control over the island, by force if necessary, even though a military option remains a last resort, said Li Zhenguang, a professor at Beijing Union University’s Institute of Taiwan Studies.

The rhetorical shift is also likely to be well received at home, where Mr. Xi’s vision of national rejuvenation has inspired some nationalistic citizens to agitate for a forceful takeover of Taiwan, Prof. Li said.



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Esper: US Watching China ‘Very Carefully’

May 22, 2020 Updated: May 22, 2020

The United States is watching China “very carefully,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday.

Esper told radio host Hugh Hewitt that the current era features competition between great powers, with the United States’ biggest competitor being China.

“My challenge is to implement that strategy and pivot toward China and make sure we deal with it, and that we avoid a hot war with China, but at the same time, we stand up for our values, we stand up for the international rules-based order, and we stand up for those things that Americans hold dear,” Esper said.
A Chinese Communist Party-run newspaper last week quoted a Chinese military expert saying training exercises “can turn into action any time” if Taiwanese officials try to secede from China.

Would such an attack would be an act of war?

“Look, we watch China very carefully. They should be cautious about they do. We regard any type of military action like that very gravely,” Esper responded.
“And I am confident that America will stand up for its allies and partners, and again, defend the international rules-based order. We’ve got the greatest military in the world, and certainly the greatest Navy that history has known. And we will defend our allies and partners.”
The top military official stressed later that America will “defend our allies.”

Taiwan has seen broad support from the United States, including the establishment in 1979 of substantial relations between America and Taiwan.
U.S. officials have recently joined calls for Taiwan to be let in as a full member of the World Health Organization, an entry which China and other members have repeatedly blocked.

Esper was speaking after the White House in a new assessment called the communist party’s aggressive military moves part of a pattern of “malign behavior.”