The Biden administration criticized Beijing’s military drills near Taiwan this week as “provocative,” insisting it will continue helping the government in Taipei defend itself.
The US is worried about the Chinese activity, “which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” the National Security Council said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability in line with our longstanding commitments and consistent with our one-China policy,” it added.
While the Taiwan issue continues to be a source of tension between China and the US, it doesn’t appear to be derailing recent efforts by the two sides to improve ties. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is still scheduled to visit Beijing early in 2023 to follow up on a meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia in November.
China’s ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, hinted at the durability of relations in a commentary that appeared in The National Interest magazine on Monday.
“The differences between China and the United States—in history, culture, social system and development path—will most probably remain in 100 years,” wrote Qin, a top contender to become China’s next foreign minister.
“But as residents of the same world, we should and can listen to each other, narrow our gap in perceptions of the world, and explore a way to get along based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation,” he added.
Earlier this week China held its largest military drills near Taiwan since unprecedented exercises that followed a trip to Taipei by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August. In the 24 hours to early Monday, China sent 71 warplanes toward the democratically run island that it has pledged to someday control—47 of them either across the median line in the Taiwan Strait or into Taiwan’s southwest air-defense identification zone.
China’s military said Sunday it conducted the drills in response to escalating “collusion and provocations” from Taiwan and the US.
Last week, US lawmakers agreed to a $1.7 trillion spending bill that included $2 billion in weapons funding for Taiwan. China’s Defense Ministry has blasted the US National Defense Authorization Act, which permits up to $10 billion in weapons sales to Taiwan, for playing up the China threat and interfering in the nation’s internal affairs.