Chinese Provocation Could Lead to a Broader Conflict If Miscalculated: Top US Diplomat Warns

Beijing’s provocative actions have heightened tensions with countries in the region.The Chinese communist regime’s provocative actions in international waters in the region could lead to a broader conflict if miscalculated, a U.S. top diplomat in Taiwan warned.Sandra Oudkirk, the outgoing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and de facto U.S. ambassador, told reporters on June 14 that the United States was “profoundly devoted” to the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and broader region.“That is why we have consistently urged [China] to avoid coercive or provocative actions both in the Taiwan Straits and in other areas like the South China Sea and off Japan,” Ms. Oudkirk said. “Because provocative actions are almost by definition dangerous. They run the risk of a miscalculation or an accident that could spark a broader conflict.”Beijing’s provocative actions have heightened tensions with countries in the region including Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait, Japan in the China East Sea, and the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.Last month, the Chinese military launched two-day exercises around Taiwan in response to the inauguration of Taiwan’s new pro-independence President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing labels as a “dangerous separatist.”Beijing’s military aggression against Taiwan has intensified in recent years, consistently deploying military aircraft and vessels close to the island on an almost daily basis. Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that over 1,700 warplanes entered the island’s air defense zone last year.Related StoriesThe United States has had no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan since Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in 1979. However, the two sides have a robust relationship based on the Taiwan Relations Act. This law authorizes the United States to provide the island with military equipment for self-defense.Ms. Oudkirk also mentioned the delivery progress of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. “We look forward to the delivery of military capabilities that Taiwan has purchased over the past several years,” she said.U.S. lawmakers have complained about the progress of Taiwan’s arms deliveries amid China’s growing aggression toward the islands. Last year, a group of over 20 GOP lawmakers questioned the Pentagon about the delivery of F-16 fighters to Taiwan.Ms. Oudkirk’s successor is Raymond Greene, currently the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo and before that deputy head of AIT.Tensions With NeighborsEarlier this month, four armed Chinese coast guard ships entered Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Last month, Tokyo said the Chinese Coast Guard had entered these waters for a record 158 consecutive days, surpassing the previous record of 157 days, set in 2021.On June 4, the Philippine military said Chinese boats intercepted and seized one of four food packs that were airdropped to a Philippine outpost in disputed waters in the South China Sea on May 19.In recent months, there have been multiple reports of confrontations in the South China Sea between the two countries. In late March, the Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard vessel of using water cannons against a Philippine ship, causing injuries to three sailors.Vietnam also accused Beijing of conducting illegal survey operations in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf within the Gulf of Tonkin area with the Chinese survey ship Hai Yang 26.China claims control over nearly the entire South China Sea as its waters, a crucial route for more than $3 trillion in annual maritime trade, overlapping with areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China’s claims lack legal basis under international law. Despite this, Beijing ignored the ruling.On June 8, the Dutch Defense Ministry said Chinese fighter jets circled a Dutch frigate and approached a Dutch helicopter during a patrol in the East China Sea, creating “a potentially unsafe situation.” The ship was in international waters and on its way to Japan and Hawaii to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise.Reuters contributed to this report. 

Chinese Provocation Could Lead to a Broader Conflict If Miscalculated: Top US Diplomat Warns

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Beijing’s provocative actions have heightened tensions with countries in the region.

The Chinese communist regime’s provocative actions in international waters in the region could lead to a broader conflict if miscalculated, a U.S. top diplomat in Taiwan warned.

Sandra Oudkirk, the outgoing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and de facto U.S. ambassador, told reporters on June 14 that the United States was “profoundly devoted” to the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and broader region.

“That is why we have consistently urged [China] to avoid coercive or provocative actions both in the Taiwan Straits and in other areas like the South China Sea and off Japan,” Ms. Oudkirk said. “Because provocative actions are almost by definition dangerous. They run the risk of a miscalculation or an accident that could spark a broader conflict.”

Beijing’s provocative actions have heightened tensions with countries in the region including Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait, Japan in the China East Sea, and the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

Last month, the Chinese military launched two-day exercises around Taiwan in response to the inauguration of Taiwan’s new pro-independence President Lai Ching-te, whom Beijing labels as a “dangerous separatist.”

Beijing’s military aggression against Taiwan has intensified in recent years, consistently deploying military aircraft and vessels close to the island on an almost daily basis. Taiwan’s defense ministry reported that over 1,700 warplanes entered the island’s air defense zone last year.

The United States has had no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan since Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in 1979. However, the two sides have a robust relationship based on the Taiwan Relations Act. This law authorizes the United States to provide the island with military equipment for self-defense.

Ms. Oudkirk also mentioned the delivery progress of U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. “We look forward to the delivery of military capabilities that Taiwan has purchased over the past several years,” she said.

U.S. lawmakers have complained about the progress of Taiwan’s arms deliveries amid China’s growing aggression toward the islands. Last year, a group of over 20 GOP lawmakers questioned the Pentagon about the delivery of F-16 fighters to Taiwan.

Ms. Oudkirk’s successor is Raymond Greene, currently the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Tokyo and before that deputy head of AIT.

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Tensions With Neighbors

Earlier this month, four armed Chinese coast guard ships entered Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed islands in the East China Sea. Last month, Tokyo said the Chinese Coast Guard had entered these waters for a record 158 consecutive days, surpassing the previous record of 157 days, set in 2021.
On June 4, the Philippine military said Chinese boats intercepted and seized one of four food packs that were airdropped to a Philippine outpost in disputed waters in the South China Sea on May 19.
In recent months, there have been multiple reports of confrontations in the South China Sea between the two countries. In late March, the Philippines accused a Chinese coast guard vessel of using water cannons against a Philippine ship, causing injuries to three sailors.

Vietnam also accused Beijing of conducting illegal survey operations in its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf within the Gulf of Tonkin area with the Chinese survey ship Hai Yang 26.

China claims control over nearly the entire South China Sea as its waters, a crucial route for more than $3 trillion in annual maritime trade, overlapping with areas claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China’s claims lack legal basis under international law. Despite this, Beijing ignored the ruling.

On June 8, the Dutch Defense Ministry said Chinese fighter jets circled a Dutch frigate and approached a Dutch helicopter during a patrol in the East China Sea, creating “a potentially unsafe situation.” The ship was in international waters and on its way to Japan and Hawaii to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

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