A senior U.S. military commander said the decision by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army to fly missiles over Taiwan must be challenged.
China held military exercises around Taiwan earlier this month, but did not confirm whether any missiles flew directly over the island.
Tensions rose after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.
Her visit angered China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.
Taiwan may become a military outpost
The Seventh Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan, is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, with about 50 to 70 ships, and is a major component of U.S. military power in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It’s very important that we challenge these kinds of things. I know the thing that can’t be ignored is launching missiles over Taiwan,” Lieutenant General Thomas told reporters in Singapore. “It would be irresponsible to launch missiles over Taiwan into international waters. “
“If you don’t challenge it… all of a sudden it’s like islands in the South China Sea, now military outposts. They’re now fully operational military outposts with missiles, big airstrips, hangars, radars and listening stations.”
China‘s decision to conduct military exercises in the waters around Taiwan for nearly a week disrupted major air and air routes in a move that Taiwan says effectively creates a blockade. It also accused China of using the exercises as training for the invasion.
Taiwan said the Chinese missiles, which were launched out of the atmosphere, did not pose a threat. Taiwan’s Defense Ministry did not disclose the missile’s trajectory, citing secrecy of intelligence.
Although the U.S. has official diplomatic relations with China, not Taiwan, it maintains a special relationship with the island, which includes the sale of defense weapons, which has long troubled China.
In recent years, Sino-US relations have deteriorated, and Taiwan has become another dangerous area for bilateral relations.
British commander: Made in China is the new normal
In addition, Jim Hockenhull, commander of the British Strategic Command, also accused China of “escalating actions” against Taiwan. He warned that China‘s provocative behavior in the region could be the “new normal”. Hawkenhall was the first British military chief to comment on tensions in the Far East. Such senior military figures rarely criticize Beijing publicly.
In a recent interview with The Times, Hawkenhall pointed out that China has made it clear that it wants to take back and fully control Taiwan before the 100th anniversary of its founding in 2049.
Hawkenhall, who once predicted Putin’s order for an invasion of Ukraine, said the job of military intelligence analysts within the Defense Department is to continue to monitor Chinese activity in order to give political leaders advance warning, as they did before Ukraine was invaded. .
Hawkenhall also said that China has grown from about 23 surface ships at the turn of the century to more than 500, and China has also invested heavily in sensors used to monitor airspace and maritime assets.