EU: ‘No justification’ for Chinese military exercises
Phnom Penh, Aug 4 (EFE).- European Union Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell said Thursday “there is no justification” for China’s “aggressive” military exercises in the Taiwan Strait after the visit to the island of United States House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Borrell, who arrived in Cambodia Wednesday night for the ministerial meeting between the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said on Twitter that “there is no justification for using a visit as a pretext for aggressive military activity in the Taiwan Strait.”
“It is normal and routine for legislators from our countries to travel internationally,” said the head of European diplomacy, who said he encouraged the conflicting parties to “remain calm, maintain control and act transparently.”
China’s army began its military exercises with live fire Thursday around Taiwan, which have caused “a sea and air blockade” of the island, according to the island’s Defense Ministry.
The maneuvers, which started a day after Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taipei, include the closure of maritime and air space in six areas around the island and have affected 18 international air routes on the island. More than 900 flights have been forced to change their route.
It is likely that the tension in Taiwan will be one of the main issues in the meeting that Borrell has scheduled Thursday in Phnom Penh with US State Secretary Antony Blinken. He arrived Wednesday in the Cambodian capital to participate in a series of meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
Taiwan, with whom the US does not maintain official relations, is one of the main sources of conflict between China and the US, mainly because Washington is the main supplier of weapons to the island and would be its greatest military ally in case of war conflict.
China insists on acquiring the island, governed autonomously since Kuomintang nationalists retreated there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists and continued with the regime of the Republic of China. This culminated in the transition to democracy in the 1990s. EFE