CHINA has threatened Taiwan with “immediate war” after it was falsely reported that the US has 30,000 troops in the region.
Chinese warships, anti-submarine aircrafts and fighter jets were dispatched for military drills close to the island nation following alleged “external interference and provocations”.
Now, Beijing’s state-run media has launched a scathing attack on Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, after a US Senator tweeted out bogus troops numbers in the region.
John Cornyn, a Republican Senator from Texas, today claimed on Twitter that there were “30,000” American soldiers in Taiwan – despite there being no US troops in the country since 1979.
This led to a furious response from Hu Xijin, the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese propaganda machine Global Times, claiming Beijing would “immediately launch a war to eliminate and expel the US soldiers.”
He tweeted: “Now, the US and the Taiwan authorities must explain. If it is true that the US 30,000, or less than that number, soldiers stationed on the Taiwan island, Chinese military forces will immediately launch a war to eliminate and expel the US soldiers.”
Taiwan has complained of repeated drills by the Chinese military in its vicinity in the past two years, part of a pressure campaign to force the island to accept Beijing’s sovereignty.
But tensions this week threatened to boil over as the Global Times reported that Taiwan should be “trembling” as the US “won’t protect it” after Washington abandoned Afghanistan.
Relations between the pair have been strained after the Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hit back at the “One China” policy pursued by Beijing, which does not recognise Taiwanese independence.
Under the policy, Taiwan is viewed as a breakaway province of the country rather than a separate country with its own government.
The One China policy is a key cornerstone of Sino-US diplomatic relations and was recognised by former president Donald Trump.
Washington, however, has always maintained a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan and has continued to sell arms to the island.
Today, China’s Eastern Theatre Command said warships and jets had been dispatched to carry out “joint fire assault and other drills using actual troops” near Taiwan.
A senior official familiar with Taiwan’s security planning said that China’s air force had carried out a “capturing air supremacy”.
“In addition to seeking air supremacy over Taiwan, they have also been conducting frequent electronic reconnaissance and electronic interference operations,” the official said.
He added that Taiwan believes China is trying to gather electronic signals from US and Japanese aircraft so they can “paralyse reinforcing aircraft in a war.”
Taiwan reacted to the display of strength and its Defence Ministry said they had scrambled jets to warn China’s planes away.
In total 11 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence zone, including two nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and six J-16 fighters.
Despite China giving no exact location for the drills, Taiwan said the aircraft flew in an area between mainland Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
In a statement, the Chinese military claimed that the United States and Taiwan have “repeatedly colluded in provocation and sent serious wrong signals, severely infringing upon China’s sovereignty, and severely undermining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait”.
“This exercise is a necessary action based on the current security situation across the Taiwan Strait and the need to safeguard national sovereignty. It is a solemn response to external interference and provocations by Taiwan independence forces.”
Earlier this month the US approved a new arms sale package to Taiwan worth $750million.
China believes Tsai Ing-wen, the President of Taiwan is a separatist and wants independence – which is concerning for Beijing.
Tsai said Taiwan is already an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name.