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US warns China over Taiwan

As the US Foreign Secretary met his Chinese counterparts in Rome, beyond exchange of diplomatic pleasantries, there were stern warnings for the Chinese diplomat. 

The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met on 31 October 2021, on the sidelines of Group of 20 Summit (G20) in Rome, Italy. 

The two leaders held a two-hour long meeting, in which Secretary Blinken explicitly opposed any Chinese actions which might change the status quo for Taiwan. 

In the words of a senior US State Department official, the US made its stand “crystal clear,” against any unilateral changes by China against Taiwan. 

The warnings come amid recent Chinese military exercises in Taiwanese air space. On the day of the proposed meet between the two leaders, there were as many as eight flights reported to have entered the Taiwanese air defence identification zone. 

The recent exchange of words is in line with what the US President Joe Biden had earlier declared that the US would defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by the Chinese government. While the White House went on tone down the statement by the President, it is now acknowledged by both the US and Chinese officials, that channels communication must remain open, to prevent any further escalation of tension.

The Chinese Foreign Minister, expressed his displeasure on the US stand during the talks in Rome.

The statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry following the talks, added that, “We request that the US pursues a real One China policy, not a fake One China policy.” 

A senior US State Department official said that the US has not made changes to its “One-China Policy,” and the same message was conveyed by Blinken to Wang during the meet. 

The US policy towards Taiwan was formalised in the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, where it states that the United States will help build Taiwan’s defenses. The Act however, does not explicitly say anything on US assistance in the event of war.

Chinese government has been maintaining an aggressive diplomatic and military stand aimed at Taiwan in recent months. The government which claims that Taiwan is its own had earlier stated that it will take it by force if required.

Earlier last week, the Taiwanese government had confirmed that the US forces are training the military in the island.

Other than Taiwan, the two countries have exchanged strong words against each other over human rights in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet, East and South China Sea. The two sides have also exchanged postured against each other over trade wars and Covid-19 pandemic.