The increased frequency of Chinese military activity near or within Taiwan’s airspace over the past month is an attempt by Beijing to force the US into engaging in dialogue with it, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday.
You made the remarks while speaking with reporters ahead of a banquet held by the group Citizen’s Congress Watch.
Although repeated crossings into Taiwan’s airspace have caused public concern, China has made concessions in its territorial claims in the South China Sea, he said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
“Therefore, barring a minor incident that gets out of hand, it seems unlikely that China would incite hostilities during the remainder of the year,” he said.
Over the past several months, China has shown restraint, and weakness, in the South China Sea, he said.
Citing comments by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) during an interview on Aug. 5, You said Wang referred to the archipelagoes in the South China Sea as the “common homeland” of countries in the region.
Wang had expressed hope for a “rebooting of the South China Sea norms,” and a desire for it to become a “sea of hope, friendship and peace,” You said.
You said the statements appeared to be China shrinking back, and greatly reduced tensions in the South China Sea.
Wang’s statement was a radical departure from comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Oct. 18 and Nov. 8, 2015, and July 16, 2016, when he publicly said that the South China Sea was Chinese territory “since ancient times,” You said.
“[The change in stance] is because on July 23 the US called on Chinese and people around the world to come together and change China,” You said. “The US took a strong posture, so Wang conceded.”
However, since the US did not directly engage China in dialogue since taking a tough stance on the South China Sea, Beijing hopes to force it into dialogue by ramping up pressure on Taiwan, he said.
A Chinese anti-submarine aircraft entered Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that Taiwan’s military responded by scrambling jets to monitor the Chinese aircraft, issuing radio warnings and mobilizing air defense systems.
It was the 17th incursion by Chinese military assets into airspace or waters near Taiwan since Sept. 16, a day before the ministry began regularly revealing Chinese military movements on its Web site, ministry data showed.
“Of course, Taiwan has to be self-reliant and well-prepared, but there is no need to be afraid whenever China talks tough. Every democracy in the world is experiencing China’s ‘wolf warrior diplomacy,’ and everyone is angry,” You said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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