China’s ambassador to the UK has been summoned to the Foreign Office over Beijing’s “aggressive and wide-ranging escalation” against Taiwan in recent days.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she had ordered officials to call in ambassador Zheng Zeguang to explain his country’s actions after US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-governing island.
China responded to the visit – which it saw as a provocation by the US – with a series of missile launches and incursions into Taiwanese waters and air space by its military.
We have seen increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region
In a statement on Wednesday, Beijing again said it was not prepared to renounce the the use of force to take control of the island, which it has long claimed.
Ms Truss said in a statement: “The UK and partners have condemned in the strongest terms China’s escalation in the region around Taiwan, as seen through our recent G7 statement.
“I instructed officials to summon the Chinese ambassador to explain his country’s actions.
“We have seen increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region.
“The United Kingdom urges China to resolve any differences by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”
Taiwan has been self-governing since nationalist forces fled there in 1949 after the communists took control of China, and is considered to be a rebel province by Beijing.
We reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities
China's Taiwan affairs office
China’s military exercises, which began on Thursday August 4, have caused extensive disruption to flights and shipping in one of the busiest regions for world trade.
A statement issued by Beijing’s Taiwan affairs office said China would continue to work “with the greatest sincerity” to achieve peaceful reunification.
It went on: “But we will not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is to guard against external interference and all separatist activities.
“We will always be ready to respond with the use of force or other necessary means to interference by external forces or radical action by separatist elements.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure the prospects of China’s peaceful reunification and advance this process.”