Russia's invasion of Ukraine raised fears that China might be following suit. China is now threatening war with Taiwan if the island state declares its independence. US Secretary of Defense Austin has criticized China's military activities in the region.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has criticized China for its "provocative and destabilizing" military activities near Taiwan. Washington has observed a "steady increase in provocative and destabilizing military activity," Austin said at a security conference in Singapore. As an example, Austin cited Chinese military aircraft "which have flown near Taiwan in record numbers and almost daily for the past few months."
On Friday, China's Defense Minister Wei Fenghe threatened war if Taiwan declared independence at a meeting with Austin on the fringes of the so-called Shangri-La dialogue. "If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war at any cost," Wei said, according to his spokesman.
According to the US Department of Defense, Austin told his Chinese counterpart on Friday that Beijing must "refrain from further destabilizing actions against Taiwan." Peace and stability in the region are extremely important.
US President Joe Biden pledged military support to Taiwan in May in the event of a Chinese invasion, sparking outrage in Beijing. The relationship between the two world powers has increasingly deteriorated in recent years. In particular, security issues are causing tension, affecting, among other things, Taiwan, the South China Sea and the Ukraine war.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland - if necessary with military force. The US is pursuing a line of "strategic ambiguity" on this issue. In doing so, they assure Taiwan of support in developing its defense capabilities, but do not expressly promise to come to the island's aid in the event of war.