U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said on Friday that China’s actions around Taiwan increase the level of risk and that he expects China’s behavior to return to normal. previously established.
China, which claims a democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has held military exercises this month to show anger at a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, blaming Washington for the tension.
Kendall, in a teleconference with reporters from the US Pacific territory of Guam as part of a trip to the region that will also include Australia and Japan, said: “We are living in dangerous times.”
Referring to China’s maneuvers around Taiwan, which included launching missiles on the island and repeatedly crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally functions as an unofficial barrier, he said that Beijing was acting very provocative.
“The military activities that China carried out during the House Speaker’s visit increased the level of risk and violated a series of rules: crossing the line was one, shooting into Japan’s exclusive economic zone was another, and shooting over the Taiwan itself was another,” Kendall said.
Japan said that five of the missiles fired by China fell in its economic zone.
“These are not actions intended to promote peace and stability in the region, they are highly provocative and increase the level of risk,” he said.
Although Kendall declined to comment directly on the details of China’s crossing of the median line, he said China had overreacted to Pelosi’s trip.
“I hope his behavior returns to the previously established norms,” he said.
China claims that Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States and that it has the right to guarantee its security and defend its territorial integrity.
The Taiwanese government says that since the People’s Republic of China has never ruled Taiwan, it has no right to claim it or decide its future, which can only be determined by the island’s 23 million people.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been overseeing an impressive military modernization program, including the development of stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, alarming many of his neighbors and the United States.
“I am concerned, I think it is clear that the United States is concerned, about China’s modernization programs, and we are also concerned about its behavior in the region,” Kendall said.