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Taiwan says China is 'nibbling away' at its space, trying to create a new normal

Taiwan says China is 'nibbling away' at its space, trying to create a new normal
A man looks at a giant screen showing news footage of military drills conducted in areas around the island of Taiwan by the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), in Beijing, China May 24, 2024.
PHOTO: Reuters file

TAIPEI — China is trying to "nibble away" at Taiwan's space and create a new normal with its military drills and other moves to exert pressure, which is a matter for global concern, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung said on Thursday (May 30).

China, which views democratically-governed Taiwan as its own territory, staged two days of war games around the island last week following shortly after the inauguration of new Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, who Beijing calls a "separatist".

While those drills have formally ended, China's military activities have not, with Taiwan reporting that on Wednesday Chinese warplanes and warships carried out a "joint combat readiness patrol".

"The Chinese communists' pressure on Taiwan is all encompassing, especially diplomatically," Lin told reporters at parliament before taking lawmaker questions.

Taiwan faces a huge amount of obstruction in its attempts to take part in international organisations, like a major World Health Organisation meeting this week which it has been unable to take part in, the minister added.

Chinese pressure keeps Taiwan out of most international bodies. China says Taiwan is one of its provinces with no right to the trappings of a state, a position the government in Taipei strongly rejects.

Lin pointed to other things China has been doing, like unilaterally opening new air routes close to Taiwan-controlled islands next to the Chinese coast, and sending coast guard ships to Taiwan's east coast during the exercises last week.

"The Chinese communists are continuing to change the status quo," he said. "They are creating a new normal, pressing on at every stage, trying to nibble away and annex (us)."

China's Taiwan Affairs Office, at its routine news conference on Wednesday, reiterated its list of complaints about Lai being a dangerous supporter of Taiwan's formal independence, and threatened continued Chinese military activity.

Lai has repeatedly offered talks with China but been rebuffed, and says on Taiwan's people can decide their future.

China says Taiwan is a purely internal matter.

Lin said stability was a matter for everyone.

"The cross-strait issue is not only about the strait; it's a regional, or even global matter," he added.

The government in Taipei says Taiwan is already an independent country, the Republic of China. The Republican government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong's Communists who set up the People's Republic of China.

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