'Biggest Tinderbox': Chinese Envoy Warns of 'Military Conflict' Between China & US Over Taiwan

© AP Photo / Zenaida RothIn this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducts routine operations in the Taiwan Strait, May 18, 2021.
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) conducts routine operations in the Taiwan Strait, May 18, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.01.2022
China continues to consider Taiwan a breakaway province, while the authorities in Taipei have repeatedly rejected Beijing's proposal to stick to the "one country, two systems" principle. The US, for its part, says it remains committed to the "One-China" policy, but is working to "support Taiwan's ability to defend itself".
China's Ambassador to the US Qin Gang has warned of serious repercussions from the ongoing tensions between Beijing and Washington over the future of Taiwan.

Speaking to the US public broadcaster National Public Radio (NPR), Gang described the Taiwan issue as "the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States".

"If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in the military conflict", Qin Gang argued.
A demonstrator holds flags of Taiwan and the United States in support of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during an stop-over after her visit to Latin America in Burlingame, California, U.S., January 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
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The envoy blamed Taiwanese authorities for the current situation, accusing Taipei of pursuing "its independence agenda by borrowing the support and the encouragement of the United States". The diplomat asserted that Washington "is playing the Taiwan card to contain China".

He spoke after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in late December that by "encouraging 'Taiwan independence' forces" the White House "not only puts the island in an extremely dangerous situation but also exposes the United States to an unbearable price". The top Chinese diplomat added that Taipei "has no other way forward other than reunification with the mainland".
This followed Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accusing "some American forces" of stubbornly manipulating the Taiwan issue in a bid "to control China", something that he said had further "aggravated" tensions in the Taiwan Strait.

Zhao urged Washington to adhere to the "One-China" principle and "be cautious in its words and deeds on Taiwan-related issues".

In late October, another Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, responded to US President Joe Biden's previous pledge to "defend Taiwan" by urging POTUS not to underestimate Beijing's commitment to its claims to the island.
Wang called Taiwan "an inalienable part of China's territory", adding that "the Taiwan issue is purely an internal affair of China that allows no foreign intervention".

Taiwan Tensions

The spokesman's remarks were preceded by China sending almost 40 fighter jets into Taiwan's air defence identification zone for two days in a row. The flyovers came after US and EU delegations visited the island and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen admitted the presence of American troops on Taiwanese territory for training purposes in an interview with CNN. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that US Marines and special operations forces had been secretly training Taiwan's soldiers "for more than a year".
The tense situation has been further exacerbated by the US repeatedly sending warships to the Taiwan Strait, separating the island from mainland China. Beijing slams such missions as provocations, describing Washington as "the destroyer of peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait and "a security risk creator in the region".
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen waves as she boards Hai Lung-class submarine (SS-794) during her visit to a navy base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan 21 March 2017.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.12.2021
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Taiwan, which has been governed independently from Beijing since 1949, maintains that it is an autonomous country, while China views the island as a breakaway province. Perceiving the island as an integral part of China, Beijing adheres to a policy of peaceful reunification under the "One China – Two Systems" model.
The US does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, maintaining, however, a representative office in Taipei, and remaining the island's biggest supplier of military hardware.
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