Beijing removes pledge not to send troops to Taiwan in new policy
Beijing has rescinded a pledge not to send troops to Taiwan if it takes control of the island and accused the U.S. of trying to "undermine China’s development and progress" in a new policy document.
The big picture: Beijing's first white paper on Taiwan since Xi Jinping became president comes days after China's military held live ammunition drills near the democratically governed island in protest at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the capital, Taipei.
- In the paper, titled "The Taiwan Question and China's Reunification in the New Era" and published Wednesday, Beijing claims that "a small number of countries, the U.S. foremost among them," are "using Taiwan to contain China."
Flashback: The previous two policy documents on Taiwan that the ruling Chinese Communist Party issued in 1993 and 2000 both stated that it "will not send troops or administrative personnel to be based in Taiwan" in its planned "reunification" of the island it regards as a breakaway province, per Reuters.
- Beijing had previously stated that Taipei would see a "one country, two systems" structure similar to that in the former British colony of Hong Kong when it was handed back to China in 1997, Reuters notes.
Of note: Hong Kong has seen its once-lauded political freedoms curtailed, with Beijing's national security law cracking down on the democracy movement and independent media in the Asian financial hub in recent years.
What they're saying: Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council dismissed the white paper as "lies" and "wishful thinking," Reuters reports.
- "Only Taiwan's 23 million people have the right to decide on the future of Taiwan, and they will never accept an outcome set by an autocratic regime," the council added.
Meanwhile, Colin Kahl, the U.S. Defense Department's under secretary for policy, said at a briefing this week Beijing was trying to "coerce" Taiwan and the international community with its drills, and "we're not going to take the bait."
- He said the U.S. would "continue to fly, to sail and operate wherever international law allows us to do so, and that includes in the Taiwan Strait."