China: Expert discusses ‘fears of regional arms race’
Beijing said it will “never tolerate” any attempt from foreign influencers to help Taiwan seek independence. The comments follow the largest reported incursion into Taiwanese airspace to date after world leaders criticised China on a variety of issues at the G7 and NATO summits earlier this week.
When asked whether recent military activity was related to the comments made during the G7 summit, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, blamed Taiwan’s government for the tensions.
He said: “We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion.”
World leaders came together over the weekend for the G7 summit in Cornwall, during which the premiers urged China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms” in relation to the Uyghur Muslim minority group and Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
Within two days of the latest summit, at least 28 warplanes, including nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the largest incursion to date.
China 'will never tolerate' foreign interference over Taiwan
G7 leaders said China posed 'systemic challenges'
According to Taipei, 14 J-16, six J-11 fighters and four nuclear capable H-6 bombers were used in the Chinese mission.
Taiwan also reported several other warplanes ranging from anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft.
The fly-by also occurred on the same day the USS Ronald Reagan and its corresponding carrier group entered the South China Sea.
Lieutenant Commander Joe Keiley, a spokesperson from the carrier group reported there was no interaction with any Chinese military aircraft.
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The USS Ronald Reagan entered the South China Sea on the same day as the incursion
Xi Jinping political profile
However, a senior official familiar with Taiwan’s security planning told Reuters news agency that China wanted to send a message.
The source said: “It’s strategic intimidation of the US military. They wanted the United States to notice their capability and for them to restrain their behaviour.”
They added the latest incursion served to increase “air defence pressure around our ADIZ”.
China’s latest actions also follow a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday in which leaders noted Beijing posed “systemic challenges” to international rules and values.
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Ma Xiaoguang condemns foreign interference on Taiwan
A senior official said the incursion was a message to the US warship
The Chinese spokesperson said: “We will follow very closely NATO's strategic adjustment and its policy adjustment towards China.
“China will not present 'systemic challenges' to anyone, but we will not sit by and do nothing if 'systemic challenges' come closer to us.”
They also urged the military alliance to stop “hyping up in any forum the so-called 'China threat'.”
China’s total military expenditure is around £148.4bn but is a fraction of the total sum of NATO’s allies which comes to around £795.3bn.