China ramps up war of words against US over Taiwan
China has increased its war of words against the US, warning Washington that Beijing will go to war over Taiwan if necessary, as tensions continue to escalate between the world’s two largest economies.
While the prospect of war with the US remains remote, the harsher tone reflects the willingness of the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, to enter a military conflict.
The Global Times, the voice of China's Communist Party, warned recently that the United States was “playing with fire” by supporting Taiwan, which Beijing claims as part of a unified China.
Chinese officials have repeatedly denounced American support for Taiwan, saying it nurtured pro-independence sentiment on the island.
“I don’t think it’s just bluster, and I don’t think it’s just about venting anger,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who is an expert on Taiwan and China.
“I think there is growing pressure and that Xi Jinping finds that it’s useful to display that pressure,” Glaser told The New York Times.
The latest surge in China’s war of words has coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, also known in China as the “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea.”
Chinese forces intervened in the war on October 19, 1950, and ultimately drove the US-led United Nations forces back to the 38th parallel.
“Never underestimate Chinese people’s determination to safeguard national security,” the editor of Global Times, Hu Xijin, wrote on Twitter last week, after a ceremony commemorating the return of the remains of Chinese soldiers who died in South Korea.
A harsher tone has spread not only in state media, but also among Chinese academics and analysts with government-linked think tanks who influence policy debates.