TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China has decided that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is "no longer acceptable" and that it wants to "speed up" its seizure of Taiwan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday (Oct. 26).
During an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Blinken was asked to expound on what indications he has seen that have led him to the conclusion that China has sped up its timeline to attack Taiwan. Blinken responded by prefacing his answer by saying that for decades maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait has led to peace and prosperity in the region.
He said that what has changed in recent years is that the Chinese government has determined that the status quo is "no longer acceptable."
He reiterated that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has decided that it wants to "speed up the process by which they would pursue reunification." Blinken then explained that the CCP has made decisions on how this annexation would be implemented, such as raising pressure on Taiwan, utilizing coercion, and "making life difficult in a number of ways" with the hope of accelerating the annexation process.
In addition, Blinken warned that China is also considering using force if other means to not achieve its goal of conquering Taiwan through other means. The Secretary of State said that this focus on the use of force represents a fundamental change.
Blinken stated that this increased emphasis on military force can be seen with the ramped-up military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and deployment of People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces in the region. He said the White House sees these actions as steps to increase pressure on Taiwan, but as for what military action China will take against the democratic country and when, Blinken said he could not give a precise answer.
He underscored that the key difference with China's previous policy is the notion now that "the status quo is unacceptable." Blinken stressed that this should be a serious matter of concern not only for the U.S. but also countries in the region and around the world because "we've got 50% of container ships on a daily basis traveling through the Taiwan Strait."
The secretary of state said that disruption to this traffic would have serious implications for the world economy and supply chains. He also pointed out that over 90% of advanced semiconductors are made in Taiwan and said that if those were eliminated from the supply chain "everyone has a big problem."
Blinken said that all external parties wish to avoid a crisis in the Taiwan Strait and that the "world believes that these differences need to be resolved peacefully and that peace and stability needs to be preserved in the Taiwan Strait."
Blinken was then asked whether the era of strategic ambiguity had ended. He responded by saying that the relationship between the U.S. and China can't be reduced to a "bumper sticker."
An inflection point has been reached and there is competition between the two countries in determining the new world order, he said.
Blinken said that the U.S. is continuing its stance that differences in the Taiwan Strait should be resolved peacefully, that no unilateral changes should be made to the status quo, and that "we have an abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait." He said this is a "strong, basic interest of the United States and one that we are determined to uphold."
Updated : 2022-10-27 12:40 GMT+08:00
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