Blinken says China moving on ‘much faster timeline’ to take Taiwan
China wants to seize Taiwan on a “much faster timeline” under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.
Blinken’s remarks came while speaking at Stanford University during a forum with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“There has been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years,” he said. “Instead of sticking with the status quo that was established in a positive way, a fundamental decision that the status quo was no longer acceptable and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification on a much faster timeline.”
On Sunday, Xi called for China to create a world-class military as he declared supremacy over Hong Kong and set his sights on Taiwan, a self-governing island off the Chinese coast that split from the mainland in 1949.
China claims the self-ruled island is part of its territory, but Taiwan sees itself as distinct from the mainland.
The comments came during his opening address to the Chinese Community Party Congress in Beijing. Xi spoke before 2,300 CPP delegates who will later vote to grant him an unprecedented third term as China’s president and general secretary of the CCP. The leader laid out ambitions for China, declaring a determination to beef up the country’s military and take over Taiwan.
“In the face of serious provocations from separatist activities by Taiwan independence forces and interference in Taiwan affairs by external forces, we have resolutely waged a major struggle against separatism and interference, demonstrating our strong determination and ability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose Taiwan independence,” Xi said, according to a translation from Reuters.
Last month, President Biden said the American forces would defend Taiwan if necessary, despite a U.S. policy of being ambiguous on the issue.
“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack,” Biden responded to a question about using military force.
Blinken said the Biden administration is committed to the “one China policy,” which recognizes the government in Beijing while allowing for informal ties with Taiwan.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have heightened in recent months, especially following a visit to the island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August.
The visit saw China, which had threatened to shoot down Pelosi’s plane at one point, undertake live-fire military exercises near the border of Taiwan in a show of force.
Pelosi has defended the trip, saying it was worth it to show China the U.S. could not be intimidated.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom and Haris Alic contributed to this report.