China condemns Tsai-McCarthy meeting in US, deploys aircraft carrier near Taiwan
China warned of “consequences” and deployed an aircraft carrier group near Taiwan in response to the meeting between Taiwan’s President and US House Speaker
China warned of “consequences” and deployed an aircraft carrier group near Taiwan in response to the high-profile meeting between the self-governing island’s President Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, in Simi Valley, California, calling their talks “seriously erroneous”, “dangerous”, and warning of “resolute and effective” countermeasures.
The Chinese foreign and defence ministries besides the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s rubber stamp parliament, issued separate statements on Thursday, condemning the meeting and warning of consequences without giving details of the possible retaliatory measures.
McCarthy, the third highest ranked US official, hosted Tsai on Wednesday, becoming the most senior US figure to meet a Taiwanese leader on US soil in decades.
McCarthy - - and other Republican and Democratic lawmakers -- met Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Reuters reported, stressing the need to accelerate arms deliveries to Taiwan in the face of rising threats from China.
“It is no secret that today the peace we have maintained and the democracy which (we) have worked hard to build are facing unprecedented challenges,” Tsai said in remarks alongside McCarthy, the CNN reported.
“We once again find ourselves in a world where democracy is under threat and the urgency of keeping the beacon of freedom shining cannot be understated.”
China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has not ruled out using force to merge it with the mainland, had earlier warned of implementing unspecified measures in the run up to the meeting.
Beijing vehemently opposes any official interaction between Taiwan and other countries, saying such meetings would be an interference in China’s internal affairs and encouraging “Taiwan independence” forces.
The meeting took place during Tsai’s transit through the US on her way back to Taiwan following her visit to the central American countries of Belize and Guatemala, two of Taiwan’s remaining 13 formal allies.
A strongly-worded statement from the Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday that the meeting was a “collusion” between “Taiwan independence forces”.
“The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations,” the statement said, adding: Taiwan independence” is absolutely irreconcilable with peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and it is a path to nowhere.”
“In response to the seriously erroneous acts of collusion between the United States and Taiwan, China will take resolute and effective measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the foreign ministry statement said.
It “urged” Washington to “cease” all forms of official interaction, upgrading ties with Taiwan and “stop going further down the wrong and dangerous path”.
“The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China will stand by its responsibility and mission and always keep on high alert. The PLA will resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” China’s defence ministry said in a separate statement.
China had staged its biggest war games, deploying warships and firing missiles, around Taiwan last August following the visit to Taipei of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
This time too, the PLA has escalated its presence around the island, according to the Taiwanese defence ministry.
“On April 5th, the PLA navy’s Shandong aircraft carrier fleet passed through the Bashi Channel and entered Taiwan’s southeastern waters, launching its first West Pacific training,” the island’s defence ministry said.
China’s second aircraft carrier, the Shandong, was spotted some 200 nautical miles (370km) off Taiwan’s east coast, Taiwanese Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters on Thursday.
“It is training but the timing is quite sensitive, and what it is up to we are still studying,” Chiu was quoted as saying in a Reuters from Taipei, adding aircraft had yet to be seen taking off from its deck.