Written by By Staff Writer, CNN China, and By Attiya Sher, CNN
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reiterated that the government has “firm opposition” to such contacts, adding that it opposes any country supporting Taiwan independence.
The comment came after it appeared that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had touched on defense issues in a recent television interview with CNN, prompting widespread speculation of a potential future air defense zone.
Taiwan, which has had no formal diplomatic relations with China since its Nationalist (KMT) government was defeated by the Communists in 1949, has expressed fears that China could eventually set up new zones around the island — which Beijing regards as a renegade province.
Tsai’s comments — which she made during a trip to KTA Johnstown, Pennsylvania — focused on the challenge China poses to the Northeast U.S. — the grain-growing area where China already lays claim to most of the most valuable farmland.
“But aside from the national security aspects, we are quite worried about the socioeconomic situation,” Tsai said, adding that China’s “aggressive and aggressive” expansion around the region has eroded the rice harvests on its Central Asian neighbors.
Possible military exercise?
China’s foreign ministry strongly denied Tsai’s remarks, branding them “outrageous and baseless.”
“China’s consistent policy is to oppose the use of force to split Taiwan and oppose all forms of interference, including information infiltration, with Taiwan’s domestic affairs,” the ministry said in a statement.
“As China’s territory is safeguarded and also safeguarded by the international community, relevant countries should be aware that Taiwan-related disputes among various countries are handled through bilateral negotiations and face each other on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
China’s military in the region have taken steps to establish air defense areas, or ADIZs, overlapping the ones already set up around its long-time rival in the South China Sea.
Taiwan’s central government has had no formal relations with China since a Chinese civil war on the mainland split the countries into two. In 2014, China established its Air Defense Identification Zone over parts of the Taiwan Strait, giving airlines based in the island government.
But much has changed since then. China has sought to introduce a unified administrative system and has expanded its ruling Communist Party to represent governments on Taiwan, while it has strengthened ties with the island’s rebel counties in northern Taiwan.
Last year, China sent fighter jets to shadow a US Air Force WC-135 Constant Phoenix plane, which went through its newly created ADIZ to collect intelligence on Taiwan.