Xi Jinping Accuses US of Provoking China Over Taiwan

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jun.16 - 2024 1:16 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Xi Jinping accuses the US of provoking China into a conflict over Taiwan.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping has accused the United States of attempting to provoke China into attacking Taiwan, according to sources cited by the Financial Times.

During a meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in April 2023, Xi reportedly claimed that Washington tried to deceive Beijing into making a military move against Taiwan, but he did not fall for the “bait.”

Behind the Accusation

Sources revealed that Xi warned Chinese officials of these US provocations during the same meeting.

While the Chinese embassy in Washington declined to comment directly on the Financial Times report, it noted that the US has been selling arms to Taiwan and supporting “separatist forces” on the island.

A spokesperson for von der Leyen stated that she does not disclose details of private meetings. The White House also did not provide any comments.

The tension between China and Taiwan has deep historical roots. Taiwan separated from China after the Chinese Civil War, where the nationalist Kuomintang government, led by Chiang Kai-shek, retreated to the island in 1949 following their defeat by Mao Zedong’s Communist forces.

Since then, Taiwan has operated as a separate entity, though Beijing continues to consider it a part of its territory under the "One China" principle.

A Call for Recognition

On May 20, Taiwan inaugurated its new president, Lai Ching-te, who called on Beijing to recognize Taiwan’s independence and to stop using political and military means to intimidate the island.

He urged China to work with Taiwan to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese government, however, reiterated that peace in the region is incompatible with Taiwanese independence.

On May 23, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China initiated joint naval, air force, and missile drills near Taiwan.

Beijing described these exercises as a response to the "separatist activities" in Taiwan and as a stern warning against foreign intervention. In reaction, Taiwan's military was placed on high alert. The following day, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Wu Qian declared that Taiwan’s new leadership was steering the island towards conflict with China.