China unleashed a volley of threats on Saturday at nations that might emulate the support Ukraine has received from the world should the Beijing government try to conquer Taiwan.
China claims that Taiwan, which became the refuge of the nationalist government of China after the civil war ended in 1949, is rightfully its territory.
The United States has bent to China’s will by not having formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan under the “one China policy,” but it has consistently supported Taiwan with arms sales to ensure the island remains independent.
Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has resulted in speculation of what might happen if China, which has become increasingly bellicose in its statements about absorbing Taiwan, should decide to invade the island.
On March 6, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said on March 6 that Australia will do “whatever we can” to deter China from conquering Taiwan, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. On Saturday, China’s Ministry of National Defense issued a snarky statement in reply.
The statement said, “no one and no force” would be able to stop China, and anyone trying to do so would suffer “the worst consequences,” according to Sky News Australia.
#China is warning of the “worst consequences” for any country helping #Taiwan defend itself: https://t.co/H0XOrye06D. Can it be any coincidence that, after having seen #VladimirPutin successfully issue nuke threats over #Ukraine, #Beijing is making its own?
— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) March 13, 2022
China’s response was similar to a threat it issued after a U.S. official warned China against trying to grab Taiwan, according to the South China Morning Post.
“I think the situation we’re seeing in Ukraine right now is a very worthwhile case study for them about why Taiwan needs to do all it can to build asymmetric capabilities, to get its population ready, so that it can be as prickly as possible should China choose to violate its sovereignty,” Mara Karlin, assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities, said Thursday, according to Reuters.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, warned against support for Taiwan.
“This would not only push Taiwan into a precarious situation but also bring unbearable consequences for the US side,” Liu said in a statement, according to the Taipei Times, an English-language newspaper in Taiwan.
Some U.S. officials say that the global reaction the Ukraine invasion triggered could make Chinese President Xi Jinping cautious.
“We continue to watch to try to identify, has he learned the correct lessons as it applies to the changing world order and the concern that we see in Ukraine?” Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, according to Military.com.
“They’ve been surprised and unsettled to some extent by what they’ve seen in Ukraine over the last 12 days, everything from the strength of the Western reaction, to the way in which Ukrainians have fiercely resisted, to the relatively poor performance of Russia,” CIA Director William Burns told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, according to Military.com.
However, Burns noted that “I would not underestimate President Xi and the Chinese leadership’s determination with regard to Taiwan.”