WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US Senator Tom Cotton said that the United States must take seriously the threat from China to use military force against Taiwan.
"I urge both the President and Congress to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons to Taiwan, as well as bring Taiwan into joint military exercises with the United States," Cotton said in the statement on Monday.
Li Kexin, a minister with the Chinese embassy to the United States, said during an embassy event on Friday that he has told US officials China would activate its Anti-Secession Law if US naval vessels were sent to the Taiwan Strait.
"The day that a US Navy vessel arrives in Kaohsiung is the day that our People's Liberation Army unifies Taiwan with military force," Li told Chinese media, referring to Taiwan's largest port.
However, the bill also mentions "non-peaceful action" if China believes that all possibility of a bloodless unification with Taiwan has been lost.
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry slammed Li's words on Saturday, accusing China of using threats and coercion when they claim to desire peaceful reconciliation.
"These methods show a lack of knowledge about the real meaning of the democratic system and how a democratic society works," the ministry wrote in a statement.
Formally speaking, Taiwan — the formal name of which is the Republic of China — and China are still one country, as Taipei considers the mainland to be wayward provinces just as Beijing sees the island as a renegade territory. However, an independence movement consisting of left-wing parties that want to declare Taiwan a de jure sovereign state continues to gain traction on the island.