The US on Tuesday warned China against the use of force against Taiwan after Beijing sent two fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, an action Taipei criticized as “provocative.”
“The United States opposes unilateral actions by any party that are aimed at altering the status quo, including anything related to force or coercion,” US Department of State spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters. “Beijing should stop its coercive efforts and resume dialogue with the democratically elected administration” in Taipei.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May 2016, Beijing has stepped up its saber rattling by sending fighter jets and naval ships to operate near Taiwan.
Sunday’s crossing of the median line by Chinese military aircraft, China’s first intentional breach of the median line since 1999, was the latest move in Beijing’s intimidation campaign.
Taiwan scrambled five jets to expel the two Chinese J-11s, and criticized Beijing for what it described as its “intentional” and “provocative” intimidation.
It triggered a stern protest on Monday from Tsai, who warned Beijing not to attempt to unilaterally alter the “status quo.”
The US Department of Defense also issued a statement opposing any unilateral change of the cross-strait “status quo” in any form, including the use of coercive force, that could pose a threat to peace and stability in the region.
The EU on Tuesday also called on China and Taiwan to restart bilateral dialogue, and avoid actions and words that could increase tension across the Strait.
Commenting on the move by Beijing, an EU spokesperson said that the EU has a strong interest in peace and security in Asia.
“Tension in the Far East can only have a negative impact on our own security, as well as on our trade and our economies, including the flourishing trade between China and Taiwan,” the spokesperson said. “Both sides must avoid actions and words that may increase tension around the Strait. Instead, we look to China and Taiwan to engage constructively with one another and to restart dialogue. We are willing to support all initiatives aimed at promoting dialogue, cooperation and confidence-building between the two sides.”
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed the hope that cross-strait issues could be resolved peacefully through direct dialogue between Taiwan and China.
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