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China may step up response over Taiwan, if US fails to backtrack — Chinese expert

According to Tong Liqun, at present, the United States has not yet shown any signs of changing its position on Taiwan

SHANGHAI, August 10. /TASS/. China may step up its response over Taiwan, if the US fails to change its mind and get back to the One China principle in earnest, Professor Tong Liqun, of the Institute for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told TASS in an interview on Wednesday.

"As far as the current tensions in the Taiwan Strait are concerned, a thaw in Sino-US relations can occur only if the US government returns to compliance with the One China principle and the three joint communiques in earnest. But if the US continues to play double and reduce the One China policy to nothing, then the Chinese side will by no means ease retaliatory measures, but, on the contrary, tighten them. Mainland China will continue Taiwan’s military intimidation and preparations for combat operations," the expert believes.

At present, Tong said, the United States has not yet shown any signs of changing its position on Taiwan. It pays lip service to the One China principle, and continues to accuse China of conducting military exercises. The expert called US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei a provocation, in response to which China took a number of measures, including military exercises.

Speaking about the exercises in the Taiwan area, Tong drew attention to a number of aspects.

"The current military exercises have many traits that can be called ‘breakthroughs’. For example, the encirclement of Taiwan from all sides by six large areas of military exercises, live firing practice in the immediate vicinity of the island, the first-ever exercise east of Taiwan, the first-ever participation of an aircraft carrier group in the drills and so on. From the political point of view, deterrence is of great importance, and from the military point of view, it is of great practical significance," Tong said.

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait and throughout the Asia-Pacific region escalated after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei on August 2-3, which drew sharp criticism from mainland China. Beijing had repeatedly warned Washington that it would retaliate, if Pelosi, who occupies third place in the US government hierarchy, visited the island. The White House said after this visit that Washington intends to protect its interests and support allies in the Asia-Pacific region in the light of retaliatory measures that China was taking.