Under Biden, US says supports Taiwan, accuses China of intimidation

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The United States has rallied behind Taiwan, accusing China of putting pressure on the self-ruled island after Taipei said Chinese warplanes, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, had entered the island’s airspace.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which it has vowed to retake, by force if necessary, but a stepped-up US engagement in the dispute has escalated tensions, with Beijing warning against Washington’s interference in its internal affairs. According to Press TV, Taiwan’s defense ministry on Saturday said China had sent several warplanes to the southwestern corner of the island’s air defense identification zone. It said eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets flew over the island. The US State Department immediately reacted to the claim, calling on China “to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan.” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the US “notes with concern the pattern of ongoing (China’s) attempts to intimidate its neighbors, including Taiwan.” “We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability,” he added defiantly. China says its military exercises are aimed at defending the country’s sovereignty and security in the region. The reports of new overflights came after former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a controversial step to lift Washington’s “self-imposed” bans on meetings with Taiwanese officials in the final days of the Trump administration. The move worsened the already tense relations between Washington and Beijing. Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries including the US recognize China’s sovereignty over Taiwan and refuse to have formal relations with Taipei. The Trump administration, however, constantly supported the island’s secessionist President Tsai Ing-wen and provided her government with some advanced weapons. Relations between China and the US hit their lowest point in decades, as Donald Trump launched a damaging trade war with China, imposing sanctions on the country and clashing with the Asian power over a series of issues.

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