China: Zhang Xiaogang, a spokesman for the Chinese Defense Ministry, charged that Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party was bringing the country “toward the dangerous conditions of war” by acquiring weaponry from the US. A day before an important election in Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing claims is part of its territory, China’s military promised on Friday to “crush” any efforts to support Taiwan’s independence.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Zhang Xiaogang, issued a statement saying, “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army maintains high vigilance at all times and will take all necessary measures to firmly crush Taiwan independence attempts of all forms. By acquiring weaponry from the US, Zhang charged Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party with driving the nation “toward the dangerous conditions of war”.
A strait measuring just 180 kilometers (110 miles) separates the democratic island nation of Taiwan, home to 23 million people, from communist-ruled China, which has threatened to recapture the island eventually. The world is paying close attention to Saturday’s presidential contest because the winner will manage relations with an increasingly assertive China while leading the strategically significant island that produces a significant amount of essential semiconductors. Beijing has been stationing ships and warplanes in Taiwan’s environs almost every day in recent years as part of so-called “grey zone” harassment operations that stop short of direct provocation.
A swarm of Chinese balloons crossing the Taiwan Strait’s delicate median line in the weeks preceding Saturday’s vote has also been observed; Taipei authorities have denounced this as an attempt to rig the important election.