World Pompeo dismisses China’s ‘actual combat exercises’ in Taiwan Strait as 'military blustering'
Almost 40 Chinese warplanes breach Taiwan Strait median line
Taiwan's President has accused Beijing of purposefully inflaming tensions in East Asia, after Chinese warplanes crossed the sensitive median line across the narrow strait that separates the mainland and the self-governing island almost 40 times on Friday and Saturday. © Ministry of National Defence Taiwan Defense Ministry photo shows an Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force H-6 bomber intercepted by Taiwanese fighters on Friday.
China conducted "actual combat exercises" in the Taiwan Strait as a senior American diplomat visited Taipei, drawing a contemptuous response from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“We sent the delegation to a funeral, and the Chinese have apparently responded by military blustering,” Pompeo told reporters while traveling in Guyana. “I’ll leave it at that.”
A contingent of 18 warplanes sallied into Taiwan’s air defense zone earlier Friday, including two bombers and 16 fighter jets, according to Taiwanese defense officials. That show of force was intended as a rebuke of Pompeo’s decision to send State Department Undersecretary Keith Krach to Taipei, where he is attending a memorial service for the late Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui.
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"This is a legitimate and necessary action taken to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait," Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiangreporters.
Krach is the second high-level American official to visit Taiwan in the last six weeks, following Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s recent coronavirus-related huddle in Taipei. “It's altogether unsurprising that the Chinese have chosen to react this way, but in the end, I mean, keeping Taiwan security is these high-level engagements,” said an official familiar with U.S.-Taiwan interactions who is not authorized to speak publicly.
The sorties are regarded as a political statement more than a sign of any impending military confrontation. “The biggest worry really is accidents,” the official said.
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Mike Pompeo is among the most qualified secretaries of State to ever hold his position. He graduated first in his class from West Point and served subsequently in the 4th Infantry Division based in West Germany. He was a successful businessman, congressman, and director of Central Intelligence before finally moving over to Foggy Bottom. Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose supporters bragged about her qualifications, Pompeo had both military and private sector experience and did not owe his rise to his spouse. Pompeo represented the 4th congressional district in Kansas because he founded a business there and lived there for more than a decade before his turn to politics.
Taiwanese officials urged Beijing not to “heighten conflicts” between the two sides. "We hope the other side can exercise restraint and not ... heighten conflicts between the two sides,” Taiwan’s defense ministry said. “These military intimidations have caused resentment among the Taiwanese people.”
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, the last bastion of the government overthrown during the communist revolution of 1949, but the mainland regime hasn't controlled the island in the decades since.
“Recently, the U.S. and the Democratic Progressive Party authorities have stepped up their relationship and frequently caused incidents,” the Chinese defense ministry spokesman said, referring to the political party of the Taiwanese ruling authorities. “No matter whether the aim is to counter China or raise the DPP’s status, it is wishful thinking and is destined to be a dead end.”
Senior US diplomat wraps up Taiwan visit as China flexes muscle
A top US diplomat attended the funeral for former Taiwan president Lee Teng-hui Saturday which featured a eulogy by Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama before wrapping up a visit overshadowed by Chinese military exercises. Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy and the environment, was the highest-ranking State Department official to visit Taiwan since 1979 when Washington switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing. The trip, the second high-ranking US visit in as many months, sparked an immediate rebuke from China, which baulks at any recognition of Taiwan and has mounted a decades-long policy of marginalising the democratic island
In shadow of China war games, Taiwan bids farewell to 'Mr Democracy' .
In shadow of China war games, Taiwan bids farewell to 'Mr Democracy'TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan bid farewell on Saturday to former president Lee Teng-hui, dubbed "Mr. Democracy" for ending autocratic rule in favor of free elections and championing Taiwan's separate identity from China, as Beijing again sent jets close to the island.