Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang said Tuesday that his country and the U.S. are heading for “conflict and confrontation” due to American policy.
In his first press conference as foreign ministry, Qin accused the U.S. of pushing for the destruction of Taiwan by instigating tensions between the island and the mainland.
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“Why does the U.S. keep on professing the maintenance of regional peace and stability while covertly formulating a plan for the destruction of Taiwan?” Qin asked.
“If the United States does not hit the brake — but continues to speed down the wrong path — no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing and there will surely be conflict and confrontation and who will bear the catastrophic consequences?” Qin continued. “Such competition is a reckless gamble, with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity.”
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Taiwan, also known as the Republic of China, is an island nation off the coast of the mainland. Taiwan has declared itself independent of the People’s Republic of China, and has claimed continuation of governance from the pre-revolutionary China.
The People’s Republic of China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait, the relatively narrow strip of ocean between the island of Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. The Chinese military has frequently sent planes into the area, testing Taiwan’s air defense zone.
The United States does not have official relations with Taiwan, but has been stepping up engagement with the island as China seeks to isolate it from global institutions.
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“The resolution of the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese people on our own, and no foreign country has the right to interfere,” Qin said, later adding, “There seems to be an invisible hand, pushing for the protraction and escalation of the conflict and using the Ukraine crisis to serve certain geopolitical agenda.”
Last year, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan on the first diplomatic mission of its kind since 1997. China responded to the trip in outrage, warning that the U.S. was pushing the Taiwan issue too far.
The Chinese military conducted live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan for weeks following Pelosi’s visit, an apparent simulation of an invasion.
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Since Pelosi’s trip, further U.S. Congressional envoys have visited the island and military cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwan has escalated.
CIA Director William Burns stated last month that Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered his military to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027.
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“We know as a matter of intelligence [Xi] has instructed the People’s Liberation Army to be ready by 2027 to conduct a successful invasion,” Burns said on Feb. 3. “Now, that does not mean that he’s decided to conduct an invasion in 2027, or any other year, but it’s a reminder of the seriousness of his focus and his ambition.”
China is currently holding an annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, its highest legislative body, at the same time as the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a political advisory meeting.
The ongoing government conventions are together often referred to as the “two sessions” and will likely set the tone for the nation’s policies in the coming years.
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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the U.S. early next month, instead of overseas, in order to avoid provoking China, a report says.
McCarthy previously said he wanted to visit Taiwan if elected speaker, according to the Financial Times, and Fox News Digital reported in January that the Pentagon was preparing for the California Republican to visit Taipei later this year.
However, now with relations between the U.S. and China becoming increasingly strained, Tsai and McCarthy have agreed to meet in California instead at the start of April, when the Taiwanese leader makes a trip to Central America, McCarthy’s home state and New York, the Financial Times reports.
Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.