This time, the world should pay attention to China’s threatening approach to Taiwan, warns Jonathan Manthorpe in his international affairs column today. An excerpt:
Xi Jinping is not the first modern Chinese leader to threaten the island nation of Taiwan with invasion if they do not soon agree to hand their sovereignty to the Beijing regime.
Indeed, it has become a necessary ritual for Chinese leaders to establish their patriotic credentials by reiterating Beijing’s claim to own the island and its 23 million people.
Usually these pronouncements appear to be largely for domestic consumption, taking no account of the fact Taiwan has been an independent nation since 1949, and has made the difficult transition from a one-party state under martial law to a functional, boisterous democracy.
Beijing has sometimes gone further than rhetorical bluster. In 1996 China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fired unarmed missiles into the sea on the approaches to Taiwan’s main ports, as the island’s people prepared to vote in their first free and fair presidential elections.
But context is everything in such matters.
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