PHNOM PENH: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken doomed friday Chinese military exercises circling Taiwan as “a significant escalation”.
Blinken said there was “no justification” for the drills launched by Beijing in response to a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China has fired ballistic missiles and deployed warplanes and warships around Taiwan, declaring several off-limits danger zones on some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
“These provocative actions are a significant escalation,” Blinker said after talks with Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Phnom Penh.
Blinken said this week’s standoff was Beijing’s latest attempt to change the fragile status quo on self-governing Taiwan, which China’s ruling Communist Party considers part of its territory to be reclaimed, by force if necessary.
He said he warned Wang Yi at a recent meeting in Indonesia that Pelosi – the highest elected US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years – was likely to make the trip to the island.
“We anticipated that China might take action like this — in fact, we described that exact scenario,” Blinken said.
“The fact is that the speaker’s visit was peaceful. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalating military response.”
He said the US stance on Taiwan had not changed and would “not be caused” by China’s actions.
Beijing has insisted its war games were a “necessary” response to Pelosi’s visit.

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