Responding to a report that said US special forces and Marines have been deployed in Taiwan over the past year, China urged the US to abide by the one-China principle that was agreed to when Washington opened up diplomatic ties with Beijing in 1979.
“The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press conference. Zhao explained that under the agreement that normalized US-China relations, Washington agreed to withdraw troops from Taiwan and end its mutual defense treaty with the island.
Known as the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, the agreement was one of three communiqués the US and China agreed on. Under the third communiqué, the US said it would gradually reduce arms sales to Taiwan, but instead, the weapons deals have steadily increased over the years.
“The US should fully recognize the highly sensitive nature of Taiwan-related issues and the gravely detrimental nature of relevant issues, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan to avoid seriously damaging China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China will take all necessary measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao said.
First reported by The Wall Street Journal, the revelation that there are about two dozen special forces soldiers and a contingent of Marines in Taiwan came as tensions are soaring between the US and China over the island. The US and Taiwan have been hyping up Chinese military flights in an area Taiwan claims as its air defense identification zone (ADIZ), a concept that is not covered by any international treaties or laws.
The Chinese flights in the ADIZ are typically carried out in the southwest corner of the ADIZ, nowhere near the island of Taiwan. Despite this, Western media outlets falsely portray these flights as violations of Taiwan’s airspace.
China understands the buzz these maneuvers will create, and they are likely meant to send a message to the US and Taiwan. The US has slammed the flights as “provocative.” But Beijing is clearly reacting to the increase in US military activity in the South China Sea and near Taiwan, as well as Washington’s recent steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taipei.