US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns stated in his first television appearance since taking up his position in Beijing six months ago that China needs to persuade the rest of the world that it is not a “agent of instability” and will operate peacefully in the Taiwan Strait.
Burns was open about Beijing’s response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan earlier this month, which prompted China to begin large military exercises near the independent island and halt crucial diplomatic relations with the US.
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“We do not feel there should be a crisis in US-China ties over the travel — the peaceful visit — of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to Taiwan,” Burns told CNN on Friday from the US Embassy. “It was a manufactured crisis by the administration in Beijing. It was an overreaction.”
The ambassador declared that it is now “incumbent upon the administration here in Beijing to persuade the rest of the world that it will act peacefully in the future.”
“I believe that there is a great deal of worry throughout the world that China has suddenly turned into an agent of instability in the Taiwan Strait and that’s not in anyone’s interest.”
Burns, a career diplomat and former US ambassador to NATO, arrived in Beijing in March to assume what is arguably the most significant diplomatic position for the US: he will be navigating US-China relations that are already strained due to tensions over a number of issues, including China’s human rights record, trade policies, and military expansion in the South China Sea.
Burns is even more directly in charge of managing the tense relationship between the two greatest economies in the world as a result of China’s rigorous Covid-19 restrictions, which have also decreased diplomatic travel to and from China.
That became evident on August 2 evening, when Burns was given a meeting request with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng at what he claims was the very moment the aircraft carrying Pelosi and her congressional group touched down in Taipei.
RELATED: China’s response to Pelosi visit a sign of future intentions
U.S.’s response to China The visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was anything but subdued, with warships, military aircraft, and ballistic missiles being launched into the neighboring waters from all sides of the self-governing island democracy.
U.S.’s response to China The visit of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan was everything but subdued; warships, military planes, and ballistic missiles were sent to all corners of the self-governing island democracy.
Although the dust has not yet settled due to Taiwan’s drills this week and Beijing’s announcement that further maneuvers are planned, experts say there are already many lessons to be learned from what China has done and not done thus far. The exercises, which more closely simulated an actual attack on the island claimed by Beijing as its own territory, and the American and Taiwanese response, will also be used by China to learn about its own military capabilities.
Following Pelosi’s visit in early August, China engaged in maneuvers that lasted for nearly a week. During this time, China fired missiles over Taiwan and defied convention by firing missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. China also regularly crossed the median line in the Taiwan Strait with ships and aircraft while claiming there was no de facto boundary.
RELATED: Taiwan says China continuing military activities nearby
Six Chinese ships and 17 Chinese planes were reportedly spotted operating near Taiwan on Friday as Beijing maintained its military exercises there, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.
This, according to the report, included eight aircraft that flew across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which typically serves as a de facto border between the two sides.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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