Beijing has accused Washington of “political manipulation” after an edit was made to the US state department website, removing a line stating that the US did not support Taiwanese independence.
China does not recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, and claims the islands as part of its own territory despite having no jurisdiction there in reality. The US has longed played a balancing act in its response to the dispute, offering support to the Taipei government but stopping short of causing provocation by recognizing Taiwanese independence.
China has vowed to take Taiwan back under its control, by force if necessary, and has become increasingly politically hostile when issues concerning the islands arise.
The latest move to anger the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) involves amendments made by the US state department last week, removing key lines from a “fact sheet” page on its website. The lines removed stated that the US recognized Taiwan as part of China and does not support independence.
No explanation has been offered for why the amendments were made.
Whilst such moves may seem fairly insignificant they form part of a larger chain of events that reflect growing tensions surrounding Taiwan. Addressing the Senate today, US director of national intelligence Avril Haines said that China was seeking the military capability to reclaim the territory.
“It’s our view that they are working hard to effectively put themselves into a position in which their military is capable of taking Taiwan over our intervention,” Haines told the armed services committee, refusing to disclose specifics on a timeline in open session.
Haines stated the belief that China “would prefer not to have to use military force to take Taiwan”.
“They prefer to use other means,” she added.