Taiwan says threat of military clash with China is ‘on the rise’

The Washington Post
Date: July 22, 2020
By:Gerry Shih

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu speaks during a news briefing in Taipei, Taiwan, on July 22, 2020. (Ritchie B Tongo/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The prospect of a military clash in the Taiwan Strait is rising precariously, the Taiwanese foreign minister warned Wednesday, urging "extreme caution" in the island's dealings with a Chinese leadership in Beijing that he described as both increasingly emboldened and insecure.

The Chinese military has held a growing number of exercises that simulate an invasion of Taiwan, a self-ruled island about 80 miles off China’s east coast that considers the United States its main military and diplomatic backer. The pace and scale of China’s drills, as well as those of U.S. naval and air forces deployed to the region, have risen in recent months as relations between Beijing and Washington plummet on numerous fronts.

Relations took another sharp turn Wednesday after the State Department said it ordered China to close its consulate in Houston.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said this week the United States would sell more arms to Taiwan as part of a $10 billion deal approved by Congress. He also said the U.S. military would reposition forces across Asia to prepare for a confrontation with China in flash points including self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its territory and has vowed for decades to take by force if necessary. Inside China, the government has faced growing calls from hawkish military pundits and nationalist commentators to grasp the current strategic window to seize Taiwan, an accomplishment that could rally the Chinese population and burnish leader Xi Jinping’s political legacy.    FULL  STORY]

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