BEIJING (REUTERS) – Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken not to “send wrong signals” to Taiwanese pro-independence forces, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday (Nov. 13).
Both men also spoke about the virtual meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden would have next Tuesday morning Asian time.
Tensions in the strait have increased in recent months, with Taiwan for a year or more complaining about repeated Chinese air force missions near the self-governed island that Beijing claims as its own.
Separately, Australian Defense Secretary Peter Dutton said on Saturday it would be “inconceivable” that Australia would not join the United States if Washington took action to defend Taiwan.
Mr Blinken said on Wednesday the United States and its allies would take unspecified “action” if China used force to change the status quo over Taiwan.
“It would be inconceivable that we would not support the US in an action if the US chooses to take that action,” Dutton told the Australian newspaper in an interview.
“And again, I think we need to be very candid and honest about that, look at all the facts and circumstances without committing in advance, and maybe there are circumstances where we wouldn’t take that option, (but) I can not imagine circumstances.”
Meanwhile, Japan’s new foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Saturday that Mr Blinken assured him in a phone call that the US commitment to the defense of Japan, including the southern islets claimed by China, was unwavering.
Japan’s ties to China have been plagued by a territorial dispute over a group of Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea, Japan’s Senkaku and China’s Diaoyu, as well as the legacy of Japan’s past military aggression.
“Secretary Blinken stated that the US commitment to the defense of Japan, including the application of Article 5 of the Japan-US security treaty for the Senkaku Islands, was unwavering,” Hayashi told reporters.
Article 5 of the treaty states that each party recognizes that an armed attack on areas under Japanese rule would be dangerous to the peace and security of Japan, and that it would act to counter the common danger.
Hayashi said he and Blinken shared the view that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was important.