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Taiwan defies China on maritime patrols

Taipei has vowed not to comply after Chinese government orders inspections of ships around the self-governing island

Taiwan’s maritime authority has refused to comply after China’s government launched patrols in waters around the self-governing island and ordered that any ships in the region be stopped for inspections.

“If the mainland side insists on taking one-sided actions, it will create obstacles to normal exchanges between the two sides,” the Taiwanese Maritime & Port Bureau said in a statement on Thursday, following Beijing’s announcement of patrols in the Taiwan Strait. “We will be forced to take corresponding measures. As a result, the mainland side must bear the responsibility for subsequent consequences, which is not what the two sides like.”

The maritime authority filed a complaint with Chinese officials and called for shipping companies to ignore inspection orders in the Taiwan Strait. It also advised shippers to notify the Taiwanese coast guard if they receive such demands.

Beijing announced a three-day series of patrols in the region one day after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met in California with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Washington lawmakers. Chinese officials vowed to take “strong and resolute measures” in response to the “egregiously wrong” meeting.

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US House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R) and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speak to the press in Simi Valley, California.
China identifies ‘first red line’ in US relations

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province, and has vowed to reunify with the island – by force if necessary. Beijing has warned that US meddling in Chinese-Taiwanese affairs emboldens separatists and undermines China’s sovereignty. After McCarthy’s predecessor, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, traveled to Taipei last August, Beijing ramped up military drills in the Taiwan Strait and cut off defense and climate ties with the US.

Under its so-called ‘One China’ policy, the US acknowledges – without endorsing – the Chinese government’s claim to sovereignty over Taiwan. President Joe Biden’s administration has tried to downplay the significance of high-level meetings between US and Taiwanese politicians, saying it opposes “any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side.”

US Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reacted to the Chinese patrols by saying intimidation is “what they do.” He added that any effort by Beijing to block the Taiwan Strait would be unacceptable and unsustainable. “They have certain plans. Whether they carry those out, I don’t know. But I think that would be a very unfortunate mistake on the part of the Chinese Communist Party.”

READ MORE: US and Chinese aircraft carriers deployed near Taiwan – official

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