China declared Wednesday it would “not renounce the use of force” in its effort to annex Taiwan as Beijing’s military began winding down war games around the self-ruled island that began after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit last week.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that it would “work with the greatest sincerity and exert our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification.”
“But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures,” it added. “This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities … Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process.”
Angered by Pelosi’s Aug. 2 visit to Taiwan, China conducted days of drills that included ballistic missile launches that came perilously close to the capital of Taipei, and simulated air and sea attacks that crossed into Taiwanese territory.
The military provocations roiled already-tense relations between Washington and Beijing and disrupted flights and shipping in waterways that are crucial to alleviating the global supply chain backlog.
As the exercises were concluding, the People’s Liberation Army said routine patrols would continue around Taiwan.
“Theater forces will keep an eye on the changes in the situation in the Taiwan Strait, continue to carry out training and preparation for combat, organize regular combat readiness patrols in the direction of the Taiwan Strait, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said Wednesday.
Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang responded to China’s continuing threats by noting that Taipei will “fully adjust the allocation of forces based on factors such as the enemy threat.”
Reuters reported that Chinese warships remained active on the west and east coasts of Taiwan and came near the maritime border in the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line.
Taiwan said 17 Chinese fighter jets crossed the imaginary divide on Wednesday.
The incursions prompted Taiwan to send ships and aircraft to the region to monitor the activity and as a show of force to highlight a readiness to defend itself.
Pelosi flew out of Taipei Aug. 3 after she and a congressional delegation spent about 19 hours on the island in the first visit by a House speaker in 25 years.
Beijing, which views Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory, was infuriated by the visit from Pelosi, a longtime critic of China and a close ally of President Biden.
Pelosi, defiant in the face of Chinese threats, said in Taipei that she had traveled to the island to send the “unequivocal message: America stands with Taiwan.”
“America’s determination to preserve democracy, here in Taiwan and around the world, remains ironclad,” she said.
The US maintains a policy of ”strategic ambiguity” toward Taiwan, recognizing China’s claims to the island but not endorsing them. Washington also has pledged to provide Taiwan with arms to defend itself in case of an invasion.
With Post wires