A SENIOR Chinese diplomat has threatened to invade Taiwan if the state tries to gain independence or if a US warship visits the island, it has been revealed.
The threat to invade Taiwan has sparked a war of words with Taipei accusing Beijing of failing to understand what democracy means.
Although the United States has no formal ties with Taiwan it is bound by law to help it defend itself and is its main source of arms. In September, the US Congress passed the National Defence Authorisation Act for the 2018 fiscal year, which authorises mutual visits by navy vessels between Taiwan and the United States. Beijing regularly calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue between it and the United States. Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said late on Saturday that, while Chinese officials seemed to want to try and win over hearts and minds in Taiwan, they also had been repeatedly using threats that hurt the feelings of Taiwan’s people. The ministry said: “These methods show a lack of knowledge about the real meaning of the democratic system and how a democratic society works.” China suspects Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who leads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, wants to declare the island’s formal independence. Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China but will defend Taiwan’s security. Influential Chinese tabloid the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, said China would never back down over Taiwan.
In an editorial, the paper said: “The Chinese mainland has never given up the option of Taiwan reunification by force, which is clear to people across the Taiwan Strait. “Li’s words have sent a warning to Taiwan and drew a clear red line. If Taiwan attempts to hold an independence referendum or other activities in pursuit of de jure ‘Taiwan independence’, the PLA will undoubtedly take action.”