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Provocations show Washington lacks sincerity: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-04-18 19:56

The Chinese People's Liberation Army is tasked with defending national sovereignty and the country's territorial integrity. Beijing will exhaust all means possible, including having talk-for-talk's-sake with the US side, to resolve the Taiwan question peacefully, as well as the maritime disputes with its neighbors. But if forced to act, the PLA will do so.

Previously, exchanges between the Chinese and US defense chiefs have been opportunities to ease tensions and deepen mutual trust. Yet the United States' provocative moves raise questions about its sincerity in engaging in such exchanges.

One day after the defense chiefs of China and the US had their first direct talks in 18 months, aircraft of the PLA Eastern Theater Command tracked a US Navy plane conducting a surveillance flight in the Taiwan Strait.

With the Taiwan question being a key topic of the defense heads' talks via video link, this was a clear provocation, demonstrating which side is to blame for the strained inter-military ties as well as the rising tensions in the Asia-Pacific.

The US 7th Fleet, announcing the transit of a P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the north to the south of the strait took place on Wednesday, claimed that the move "demonstrates the United States' commitment to a free and open 'Indo-Pacific'".

During his talks with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Defense Minister Dong Jun once again underscored that the Taiwan question is China's core interest, which brooks no compromise.

Although clearly carried out to reinforce the point that as far as the US is concerned the US military can fly, sail and operate anywhere it likes, the timing risks sabotaging the direct communication between the two militaries that has only just been restored.

The US side has continuously expressed its desire to reopen the channels of direct communication between the two militaries, which were shut down due to previous egregious actions on its part.

Its intention has been to create the impression that the US side is committed to easing the tensions and it is China that has shut the door on exchanges. But what the US military has just done, and what it has been doing, belie its claims to be acting with probity.

Just one day before the two defense ministers held their talks, the US military deployed a mid-range missile system to Northern Luzon in the Philippines. The missiles' range covers Taiwan island and surrounding waters as well as the southern coastal areas of the Chinese mainland.

That being said, instead of mutual trust between the two militaries serving as a cornerstone for Sino-US relations, as the US leader said he wanted, the tensions between the two sides have been ratcheted up another notch.

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