AT China’s decision to launch missiles around Taiwan must be answered as ‘irresponsible’said the US commander at a roundtable in Singapore.
The People’s Army of China has conducted important naval and air maneuvers around the island, whose sovereignty it claims, including launching ballistic missiles in waters close to its territory.
“It is very important that we respond to actions of this kind.said the Vice Admiral of the US Seventh Fleet. Carl Thomas, reporters in Singapore. “If we let it happen and don’t react, it will be the norm after“, he pointed out.
“It is irresponsible to launch missiles at Taiwan in international waters where sea lanes and free navigation operate,” he added.
Vice Admiral Thomas drew a parallel between the threat to Taiwan and Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea, in which it claims near-total sovereignty.
“If you don’t challenge (…) everyone at once, it may end up like islands in the South China Sea that have become military outposts” of Beijing, said. “At present, these are full-fledged military outposts, with missiles, large airstrips, hangars, radars, listening posts,” he said.
The Seventh Fleet is based in Japan and is an important element of the US naval presence in the Pacific.
Tensions in the area escalated following a visit to Taiwan by U.S. House President Nancy Pelosi, angering Beijing.
Although it has been de facto separated since 1949, China considers the island part of its territory and has promised to unite it one day, by force if necessary.
The United States and its Western allies have increased Travel “freedom of navigation” naval vessels in both the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea for reviewreinforce the notion that these seas are international waterwayswhich angered Beijing.
China said it was holding new military exercises on Monday when a delegation of US lawmakers visited Taipei. This was reported by the state media. images of Taiwan’s Penghu Islands, allegedly taken from a Chinese aircraft flying a short distance from the archipelago..
But Taiwan denies Chinese planes approached Penghu. “The CCP used cognitive warfare and other tricks to exaggerate and show that (their plane) was close to Penghu. This is not true,” a senior Air Force official, Tung Pei-Lung, told reporters on Tuesday.
The Penghu Islands are located between mainland China and Taiwan. They host a major Taiwanese airbase and will be at the forefront of any attempted invasion by Beijing.
At China’s urging to conduct the exercise, the Taiwanese military said it would conduct an exercise with armed F-16s in the coastal city of Hualien on Wednesday evening, in a rare display of advanced military capabilities.
An opinion poll released on Tuesday showed that most of Taiwan’s population is still not intimidated by the teachings. According to the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation, 45% of those surveyed said they were not afraid of the exercise at all, and 33% said they were not very afraid of the exercise. 5% said they were very afraid.
(According to AFP)