Recent months have seen China’s Communist leadership step up its pressure on the island state. There have been numerous incursions of Taiwan’s airspace by fighter jets of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The PLA have also carried out multiple naval and military drills in and around the Taiwan Strait.
The US has responded to Beijing’s aggressive military actions by increasing naval patrols in the region, as well as authorising weapon sales to Taipei.
The latest US intervention occurred on Friday, when the USS Kidd guided missile destroyer and the USCGC Munro cutter made a transit through the Taiwan Straits.
The US naval manoeuvres drew a stinging response from the editor-in-chief of the Global Times – a daily Chinese tabloid under the control of the Communist Party.
The editor mocked Taipei’s belief that “Daddy America” would ride to its rescue and preserve its autonomy.
They dismissed US actions as empty posturing, suggesting that Washington neither possessed the stomach or ability to fight a war with China in its backyard.
“In the Taiwan-Straits and the South China Sea, the US is gradually losing its momentum and confidence to flex its military muscle in front of China,” the editor wrote.
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Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan and has made no secret that it is prepared to use force to take it back.
In an address to mark the the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping reiterated that ambition, as well as promising to crush any push for independence on the island.
He told his audience: “No one should underestimate the strong determination, firm will and strong ability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”