Last Monday, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a media financed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), expressed alarm about the alleged escalation of tension and a possible war unleashed between China and the United States during the coming month of August.
Through a provocative Tweet, Hu insinuated that he had access to information from a Chinese intelligence body, assuring that President Trump would be preparing an attack on the Paracel Islands located in the South China Sea as a way to boost his presidential campaign.
The CCP’s complaints about the alleged U.S. maneuvers are based on statements the Trump administration has made about the Asian country’s claims to ownership of shipping routes in the South China Sea.
“Beijing uses intimidation to undermine the sovereign rights of Southeast Asian coastal states in the South China Sea, bully them out of offshore resources, assert unilateral dominion, and replace international law with “might makes right,” wrote Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in July.
In the face of such tensions, not only the United States but also the United Kingdom, France and Germany have recently issued a joint statement in which they disqualified the so-called “historical rights” that China claims.
The letter submitted to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea states: “France, Germany and the United Kingdom also highlight that claims with regard to the exercise of ‘historic rights’ over the South China Sea waters do not comply with international law and UNCLOS provisions and recall that the arbitral award in the Philippines v China case dating to 12 July 2016 clearly confirms this point,” as reported by Express UK.
In recent months, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Chinese officials linked to human rights abuses and violations in the Xinjiang region of northeast China and restrictions on travel and meetings with Chinese diplomats to make the CCP more transparent in its treatment of U.S. officials.
In early September, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new restrictions in response to similar restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats.
Last week the Global Times announced that China “would definitely start a just war” if the United States decided to send troops to Taiwan, a country that is considered a province of China, insisting on ignoring its sovereignty.
“I must warn people in the U.S. and Taiwan who hold this kind of thinking. Once they take the step of returning U.S. forces to Taiwan, the PLA will definitely start a just war to safeguard China’s territorial integrity. China’s Anti-Secession Law is a tiger with teeth,” Hu wrote on Twitter.
As Newsweek notes, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry condemned the “harassment and threats from China” as the CCP wants to absorb the island under its “One China” policy. Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is legally obligated to help defend the island.
Meanwhile, Steve Sang, director of the China Institute in London, says the Global Times editor’s threat “does not seem necessary or justified,” since he believed there were no indications that the U.S. government planned to deploy troops to Taiwan.
“I can see the U.S. improving coordination and cooperation with Taiwan’s defense forces as tension across the Taiwan Strait increases. But increasing coordination and cooperation or training together does not amount to deploying troops to Taiwan,” Newsweek reported.