China is speeding up plans to conquer Taiwan, says Blinken

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Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken accused China of speeding up plans to seize Taiwan as Chinese President Xi Jinping looks to secure an unprecedented third term at a Chinese Communist Party congress this week.

“There has been a change in the approach from Beijing to Taiwan in recent years,” Blinken told an event at Stanford University on Monday.

This includes “a fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline,” he said. Blinken did not elaborate on the claim of a shorter timeline, saying China may be willing to use coercive means, a prospect that “creates enormous tensions.”

In response on Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry described Blinken’s comments as an example of the US abandoning its commitment to the one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing’s position that there is only one China.

“The US has repeatedly broken its word,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters. He said Washington had “substantially eased restrictions on official interactions” with the self-governing island, citing an August trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Taiwan that Beijing strongly opposed.

“Resolving the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese,” Wenbin added.

Xi presents China as ‘new choice’ for humanity as he prepares for next term

Tensions between Washington and Beijing have simmered as China faces criticism from Western governments over Taiwan and partnership with Russia.

China has refrained from publicly criticizing Russia’s war in Ukraine. The conflict raised fears among Taiwanese residents that it could embolden their neighbor China, which claims the island has never controlled it as part of its territory.

Frictions between the US and China also increased after President Biden’s remarks that the US military would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China – comments the White House later played down. Although Taiwan does not have US diplomatic recognition, it maintains significant ties with Washington, including arms sales and trade.

Biden spoke directly about Taiwan – contrary to a deliberately ambiguous US policy. Did he misspoke?

In a speech Sunday at his party’s congress, which takes place every five years, Xi said “the wheel of history is rolling toward China’s reunification” with Taiwan. Reiterating intentions to take the island of more than 23 million people, he said that while China preferred peaceful measures, it would reserve “the option to take all necessary measures.”

Xi did not mention the war in Ukraine or China’s ties to the United States, which ordered export bans this month to hit China’s technological and military ambitions.

Xi’s looming third term in China raises threat of war over Taiwan

He also described China’s “great rejuvenation” — Xi’s vision of putting the nation at the center of global affairs — as an “irreversible historical process.” Unification with Taiwan is a core part of this vision.

In an uneasy stalemate between the two sides for decades, Taiwanese leaders have vowed to defend the island, while Chinese leaders are adamant that it is part of China.

Last year, the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the threat posed by China’s targeting of Taiwan was “manifest during this decade, indeed for the next six years.”

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