China says U.S. increasing military activity directed at it

China says U.S. increasing military activity directed at it

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In this April 23, 2019, file photo, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy aircraft carrier Liaoning participates in a naval parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of China’s PLA Navy in the sea near Qingdao in … more >

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Associated Press

Thursday, April 29, 2021

BEIJING (AP) — Activity by U.S. military ships and surveillance planes directed at China has increased significantly under President Joe Biden’s administration, a spokesperson for the Chinese Defense Ministry said Thursday.

As an example, Wu Qian said the Navy destroyer USS Mustin recently conducted close-in observation of the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning and its battle group.

That had “seriously interfered with the Chinese side’s training activities and seriously threatened the safety of navigation and personnel on the both sides,” Wu said. The ship was warned to leave and a formal protest was filed with the U.S., he said.

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Activity by U.S. military ships was up 20% and by planes 40% in Chinese-claimed areas since Biden took office in January over the same period last year, Wu said.

“The U.S. frequently dispatches ships and planes to operate in seas and airspace near China, promoting regional militarization and threatening regional peace and stability,” Wu said at a monthly briefing held virtually.

China routinely objects to the U.S. military presence in the South China Sea, which it claims almost in its entirety, as well as the passage of Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait.

The country recently marked the 20th anniversary of the collision between a U.S. surveillance plane and a Chinese navy fighter near the Chinese island province of Hainan that resulted in the Chinese pilot’s death. He was called a hero who sacrificed himself for the defense of the motherland. The U.S. says its plane was in international airspace and the accident was the result of reckless flying by the Chinese side.

Wu also blasted moves to beef up monitoring of Chinese aircraft movements by Taiwan, the self-governing island democracy claimed by China as its own territory, to be annexed by force if necessary.

Efforts by Taiwan’s government to stave off what China refers to as inevitable unification are like “a mantis trying to stop a chariot,” Wu said.

The U.S. maintains only unofficial relations with Taiwan in deference to Beijing, but provides the island with defensive weapons and is legally bound to treat threats to it as matters of “grave concern.” Increased activity by the Chinese military around Taiwan has been raising concern about the possibility of a conflict.

In an interview with Britain’s Sky News, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu reiterated recent warnings that the military threat from China is growing through “misinformation campaigns, hybrid warfare, and … grey zone activities.”

“And all these seem to be preparing for their final military assault against Taiwan,” Wu told Sky.

“This is our country, this is our people and this is our way of life. We will defend ourselves to the very end,” Wu said.

Biden did not address such military threats in his address to Congress on Wednesday night, instead emphasizing that China and others were “closing in fast” in economic and technological terms.

“We’re in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century,” Biden said.

That drew a harsh response from China‘s Foreign Ministry, reflecting how hopes for an improvement in the tone, if not the substance, of relations under Biden have born little fruit.

“The U.S. always demands that others follow the rules while violating the rules themselves,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing.

“It is in nature out of Cold War thinking and ideological bias, and is a sign of lack of self-confidence,” Wang said. “We hope the U.S. can discard the mentality of sour grapes towards China.”

China’s Xi takes jabs at US in Korean War commemoration

China’s Xi takes jabs at US in Korean War commemoration

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech at the commemorating conference on the 70th anniversary of the Chinese army entering North Korea to resist the U.S. army, at the Great Hall fo the People in Beijing, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. … more >

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Associated Press

Friday, October 23, 2020

BEIJING (AP) – Chinese leader Xi Jinping condemned “unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism” in a jab at the United States made during a rally Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the 1950-53 Korean War.

China refers to the conflict, in which it sent troops to aid North Korean forces against a United Nations coalition led by America, as the “War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.”

Although fighting ended in a stalemate, the war established China as a major player on the world stage and Friday’s commemorations closely fit with Xi’s drive to promote patriotism and the unquestioned leadership of the ruling Communist Party.

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“In today’s world, the pursuit of unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism leads nowhere,” Xi told an audience of government and party leaders, veterans and family members of those who served in what China calls the Chinese People’s Volunteers.

“Arrogance, always doing as one pleases, acts of hegemony, overbearance or bullying will lead nowhere,” Xi said, according to comments released by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The anniversary comes as China’s relations with the U.S. have sunk to their lowest level in decades as the sides feud over trade, human rights, allegations of spying and Chinese policies regarding Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Beijing, meanwhile, remains North Korea’s most important diplomatic ally and trading partner, and has pushed back at U.S. efforts to bring economic pressure on Pyongyang to prompt it to end its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

U.S. relations with North Korea featured briefly in Thursday’s presidential debate, with President Donald Trump saying the Obama administration left him a “mess” to deal with in terms of tempering relations with North Korea.

Trump said he had warded off a war that could have threatened millions of lives, and that former President Barack Obama had told him he viewed potential danger from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as among the greatest national security threats.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Trump had “legitimized” a “thug” by meeting and forging a relationship with Kim.

Trump countered that Kim “didn’t like Obama” and insisted, “Having a good relationship with other countries is a good thing.”

North Korea didn’t immediately react to the U.S. presidential debate.

Many North Korea watchers say Kim would prefer for Trump be reelected to get a chance to restart stalled nuclear negotiations in exchange for badly needed sanctions relief.

Last year, the North’s state media called Biden a “rabid dog” that “must be beaten to death with a stick,” after he described Kim as a tyrant. North Korea had once called Trump a “dotard” among other crude insults, but halted such rhetoric after Kim entered talks with Trump in 2018 on the fate of his advancing nuclear arsenal.

Despite the impasse, Kim has not resumed testing major weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles in an apparent effort to keep diplomacy with the U.S. alive.

The North’s state media reported Thursday that Kim paid his respects to Chinese soldiers at a cemetery north of Pyongyang, accompanied by top deputies. Kim said that “every part of our country is closely associated with the red blood shed by the service personnel of the Chinese People’s Volunteers” and that his government would never forget “their noble soul and lofty self-sacrificing spirit.”

The visit was Kim’s first to the cemetery on the October anniversary of China’s entry into the war, adding to speculation that he wishes to strengthen ties with Beijing while preparing for new dealings with the U.S. after the Nov. 3 elections.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim has visited the cemetery on only two occasions, in 2013 and 2018, both on the July 27 anniversary of the signing of the 1953 armistice, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

___

Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Taiwan says China sending planes near island almost daily

Taiwan says China sending planes near island almost daily

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In this photo taken Feb. 10, 2020, and released by the Republic of China (ROC) Ministry of National Defense, a Taiwanese Air Force F-16 in foreground flies on the flank of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6 … more >

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Associated Press

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – China is sending military planes near Taiwan with increasing frequency in what appears to be a stepping up of its threat to use force to take control of the island, Taiwan’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

Such flights are more frequent than reported in the media and have become “virtually a daily occurrence,” Joseph Wu told reporters.

Along with Chinese military exercises simulating an attack on Taiwan, the flights by China are causing major concern for Taiwan’s government, Wu said.

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“What it is doing now is unceasingly preparing to use force to resolve the Taiwan problem,” Wu said.

China claims the self-ruling island democracy as its own territory and threatens to use the People’s Liberation Army to bring it under its control. The sides split in a civil war in 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to the former Japanese colony as the Communist Party took control in mainland China.

Beijing has cut ties with the island’s government since Taiwan elected independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016 and has sought to isolate it diplomatically while raising the military threat. Despite that, Tsai was reelected this year by a wide margin.

Wu said China appeared to have grown in confidence following its crackdown on opposition voices in the former British colony of Hong Kong, facilitated by the national legislature’s passage of a sweeping security law.

“If international society does not give China a sufficiently clear signal, I believe China will take it that international society will not impede it in doing other things,” Wu said. “This is what we are extremely worried about.”

Wu stressed the need for coordination with allies such as Japan and the U.S., neither of which has official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but which maintain close relations. U.S. law mandates that Washington ensure the island can maintain a credible defense and treat all threats against the island as matters of grave concern.

Support among Taiwanese for political unification with China has long been weak and has fallen further following the crackdown in Hong Kong. That comes as Chinese Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping pursues an increasingly assertive foreign policy, leading to speculation he may attempt a military confrontation in the region.