“The actions we’ve seen by China are provocative and potentially destabilizing,” Blinken told Bloomberg Television in Paris. “What I hope is that these actions will cease because there is always the possibility of miscalculation, of miscommunication, and that’s dangerous,” he said.
Beijing has ramped up military aggression toward the self-ruled island, over which it has for decades sought to claim sovereignty.
Since Oct. 1, an anniversary marking the founding of the Chinese communist regime, Chinese warplanes have flown over the island’s air defense zone for five days straight, which on Monday with a record 56 aircraft sent in a single day. The campaign saw 150 military flights dispatched by Beijing.
“Provocative actions go in exactly the wrong direction. And it’s very important that no one take any unilateral actions that change the status quo by force,” said Blinken.
“We really need to see China cease some of the actions that it’s taken because they are potentially a source of instability, not stability,” he added.
Blinken said in a press conference in Paris the same day that the United States will “continue to deepen our ties with a democratic Taiwan.”
“The United States has a commitment to Taiwan that is rock solid and, over many years, has contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” he told reporters.
Tensions between Taiwan and China have sunk to their worst in 40 years, warned Taiwan’s defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng on Wednesday. The island has recorded more than 600 Chinese aircraft in its air defense zone as of Oct. 5, compared to 380 in total during the past year.
Within four years, the regime will be fully capable of mounting an invasion of Taiwan, Chiu said in a parliamentary committee hearing.
“For me as a military man, the urgency is right in front of me,” he said.
Taiwan was one of the subjects covered during President Joe Biden’s Sept. 9 call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Wednesday. She said Biden had reiterated the U.S. resolve to uphold Taiwan Relations Act, a 1979 federal law defining the U.S. policy to maintain an unofficial diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.
In a press conference two days earlier, Psaki vowed to assist Taiwan in “maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability.” Like Blinken, she criticized Beijing for undermining regional stability, saying that U.S. officials have been privately “conveying clear messages through diplomatic channels.”
Over the weekend, the United States, the UK, and Japan together sent four aircraft carriers in a joint six-country drill in the Philippine Sea.
Taiwan has proposed an extra $8.69 billion defense spending to revamp its weaponry, which its defense minister said is necessary “in the face of severe threats” from Beijing.
The island’s president Tsai Ing-wen said there would be “catastrophic” consequences if democratic Taiwan were to fall into communist China’s hands.
“Taiwan is on the frontlines of the global contest between liberal democracy and authoritarianism,” Tsai wrote in an Oct. 5 op-ed for Foreign Affairs magazine.
If Taiwan were to fall, “it would signal that in today’s global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy,” she said, adding that Taiwan “will do whatever it takes” to defend its democracy and way of life.