The Chinese live-fire exercise off the coast of Taiwan was an “unnecessary escalation,” Canada’s defense minister said.
Anita Anand stated this on the air of the CBC radio station. House this weekend, and the remarks came the day after Beijing announced it was ending all contact with the United States on major issues, including climate cooperation.
“We are concerned about China’s threatening actions,” Anand said in an interview.
“There is no reason to use the visit as a pretext for aggressive military action in the Taiwan Strait.”
She added that Beijing’s reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan goes beyond mere retaliation.
“Legislators from our countries usually travel the world, and an escalating Chinese response is simply fraught with increased tensions and destabilization of the region,” Anand said.
“We urge China not to change the status quo by force unilaterally in the region and to resolve differences across the strait through peaceful means.”
It doesn’t look like this will happen anytime soon.
Over the past few days, China has sent more than 100 warplanes and 10 warships in a show of force off the coast of Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.
The country’s Strategic Missile Forces also fired ballistic missiles over the island and into the Pacific Ocean, in another manifestation of outrage.
Officials in Beijing said Friday they also plan to personally impose sanctions on Pelosi.
Jonathan Berkshire Miller, an Asia-Pacific expert at the MacDonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, said he thought China’s response was over the top, but the message was intended for both a domestic audience and the international community.
The country’s Communist Party will hold a major convention this fall, and President Xi Jinping can’t afford to look weak on Taiwan, a consideration he says should have crossed the mind of senior US officials beforehand.
“I think the United States … was guessing ahead of time,” Miller said. “You may have seen the Biden administration … first privately and then publicly warn against such a visit.”
However, according to Miller, this is not the first time that the speaker of the US House of Representatives has visited the island, and that Beijing may have been looking for an excuse to change the status quo in the region.
Outside of Taiwan, five rockets fired by China landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone off Hateruma Island, far south of Japan’s main islands.
This, according to Miller, was a message to all US allies in the region.
China summons Canadian diplomat to Beijing
China’s Foreign Ministry this week summoned Canada’s top diplomat in Beijing – Charge d’Affaires Jim Nickel – for a reprimand after G7 foreign ministers condemned China’s actions.
Speaking on Friday, China’s vice foreign minister urged Canada to “immediately correct its mistakes.”
Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly did not say whether Ottawa had summoned the Chinese ambassador to speak on Beijing’s behalf.
Anand said the government is fully involved in the brewing crisis.
“We are watching China extensively,” Anand said. “We will continue to work to keep this region safe and secure.”
Canada has two frigates, HMCS Winnipeg and HMCS Vancouver, which operate alongside allies in the Pacific. Both warships are heading to Asia as part of a pre-planned deployment following their participation in a large-scale US-led military exercise near Hawaii.
China’s insistence that Taiwan is its territory and its threat to use force to retake the island have been repeated refrains from the ruling Communist Party. But over the past few years, the statements have become more stringent.
Taiwan seceded from the mainland at the end of the civil war in the country in 1949.
Taiwanese overwhelmingly support the status quo of de facto independence and reject China’s demands for reunification.