TAIPEI: United States Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said on Friday (Aug 19) that China’s actions around Taiwan increase the level of risk, and he hoped that China’s behaviour returns to the norms that were established before.
China, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, has been staging military exercises this month to show its anger about the visit to Taipei of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, blaming Washington for the tension.
Kendall, speaking to reporters on a teleconference from the US Pacific territory of Guam as part of a trip to the region that will also take in Australia and Japan, said: “We are living in a dangerous time.”
Referring to China’s drills around Taiwan, which included firing missiles over the island and repeatedly crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait, normally an unofficial barrier, he said that Beijing was being very provocative.
“The military activities that China engaged in during the time of the speaker’s visit increased the level of risk and they violated a number of norms, crossing the line was one, firing into the exclusive economic zone of Japan was another, and firing over Taiwan itself was another,” Kendall said.
Japan said that five of the missiles China fired landed in its economic zone.
“These are not actions that are designed to promote peace and stability in the region, they are very provocative and they increase the level of risk,” he said.