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Tags: us | china | taiwan | pelosi | biden | military | air

Taiwan Envoy: 'We Need Friends' to Protect From China Bullying

chess pieces representing china and taiwan on a chessboard

(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 18 August 2022 08:25 PM EDT

Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan's highest-ranking official based in the United States, said China's recent bout of aggressive behavior toward the Taiwanese will only strengthen their bonds with superpower nations.

While speaking with The Hill on Wednesday, Hsiao acknowledged the importance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently visiting the island of Taiwan and giving credibility to the region.

"The more [China bullies] us, the more we need friends," said Hsiao, just hours before the U.S. and Taiwan divulged plans to stage trade negotiations in the fall.

Hsiao said her fellow citizens don't understand China's need to conduct military air exercises in the region — coinciding with the U.S. dignitary visits from Pelosi and then Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.

"We are very concerned and worried about China's provocative, reckless and irresponsible actions that are extremely dangerous," Hsiao said. "But then again, as a victim of their bullying, we're not going to go out and say, 'We don't want friends. Stop visiting us.'"

Later, Hsiao added: "If they think sanctions will restrict our pursuit of international space or stifle our voices, they are wrong. We will not be silenced by [China's] sanctions."

The White House said China shouldn't make any rash judgments about what's going on with Taiwan.

"China has overreacted, and its actions continue to be provocative, destabilizing and unprecedented," White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell told reporters last week.

On Monday, Chinese defense officials confirmed that military exercises were performed near Taiwan. They also acknowledged that its air force training was a response to U.S. lawmakers meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who later reiterated her desire to maintain stability in the region.

The People's Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command, the Chinese military unit responsible for the area adjacent to Taiwan, said it executed multi-service joint combat readiness patrols and combat drills around Taiwan — the Penghu Islands, in the Taiwan Strait — covering the region's sea and airspace.

Theatre Command officials also said the exercises were "a stern deterrent to the United States and Taiwan continuing to play political tricks and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as part of China's territory. 

According to The Chronicle, an Australia-based publication, Taiwan's 23 million residents "have long lived with the possibility of an invasion, but the threat has intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping."

White House and Pentagon officials were reluctant to take a definitive position on Pelosi's  visit to Asia (with an official stop in Taiwan). That may be due to the U.S. diplomatically recognizing China as a superpower, but also backing Taiwan's democratic system of government.

Tensions traditionally run high between China and Taiwan. For example, last October, China reportedly flew 129 warplanes over Taiwan for three straight days.

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Bi-khim Hsiao, Taiwan's highest-ranking official based in the United States, said China's recent bout of aggressive behavior toward the Taiwanese will only strengthen their bonds with superpower nations.
us, china, taiwan, pelosi, biden, military, air
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2022-25-18
Thursday, 18 August 2022 08:25 PM
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