China-Taiwan row erupts: Rattled Xi ‘won’t hesitate to start war’ in independence threat

Taiwanese Radio Enthusiast compares Chinese warplanes to flies

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In spite of global attention being turned to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the situation between China and Taiwan remains tense. High-level talks in Singapore yesterday saw US Defence Secretary Lloyd George warn his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe to “refrain from further destabilising actions” over Taiwan.

Yet Mr Fenghe was quick to warn Mr Austin that China would not hesitate to protect its claimed sovereign territory should Taiwan seek to gain independence.

Speaking at the prestigious Shangri-La hotel, Mr Fenghe said: “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost.”

The Chinese minister continued by vowing that Beijing would “smash to smithereens any ‘Taiwan independence’ plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland.”

Mr Fenghe added: “Taiwan is China’s Taiwan… Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail.”

In response, Mr Austin “reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the (Taiwan) Strait, opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo, and called on (China) to refrain from further destabilising actions toward Taiwan”, according to the US Department of Defence.

The open and frank message from China suggests Beijing is sticking to its rhetoric over Taiwan.

Last week, President Joe Biden added fuel to the fire over Taiwan by reaffirming the US stance that it would come to the defence of Taiwan if needed.

Delivering the key-note speech at the talks in Singapore, Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida also warned of the consequences surrounding the tension over Taiwan.

In a chilling warning, he said: “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow”, suggesting any invasion by China would be similar to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Kishida also said: “The world must be prepared for the emergence of an entity that tramples on the peace and security of other countries by force or threat without honouring the rules.”

Although the PM did not specifically mention China in the speech, the finger of suspicion was clearly pointing at Beijing.

Both China and Russia claim the disputed territories in question, (Taiwan and Eastern Ukraine) belong to each nation respectively.

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Experts in China believe the West is now once again trying to focus attention back on the Indo-Pacific region.

With Japan hinting at closer cooperation with the US and NATO, as well as the AUKUS deal clearly signalling the need for increased security and presence in the Indo-Pacific region, China has raised concerns about its own security in the process.

For more stories like this, follow Defence and Security Correspondent James Lee on Twitter: @JamesLee_DE

Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies said: “The US and its allies have stepped up efforts to promote the implementation of the ‘Indo-Pacific Strategy’ this year, as it is trying to build an iron curtain between China and others in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Fears are now emerging that China will act soon emboldened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Taiwan has vowed to defend itself in the event of an invasion.

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