China threatens 'military pressure' after Trump signs Taiwan Travel Act

China says that Trump has crossed a 'red line' in signing Taiwan Travel Act and will respond with 'military means' if high-level contacts occur

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China People's Liberation Army soldiers. (By Wikimedia Commons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Two days after President Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, China stated through its state-run mouthpiece the Global Times that it will respond with "military pressure."

Dated March 18, the Global Times cited "Chinese observers" as saying:

"China will and should take timely countermeasures against the US and all 'Taiwan independence' secessionist forces through diplomatic and military means if U.S. legislation that encourages high-level contact between the U.S. and the island of Taiwan is implemented."

It then cited a retired People's Liberation Army general as saying the signing of the bill was a "serious political provocation" and had "crossed the 'red line.'"  

The Chinese tabloid then hinted that certain activities now permitted under the Taiwan Travel Act could be construed as a violation of China's Anti-Secession Law and therefore would lead to a situation in which "the Taiwan question is solved through non-peaceful means."

For example, it indicated that if senior U.S. officials were sent to Taiwan, China would have "no choice but respond to counter moves that will deeply impact the U.S," according to Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The Act is not binding, meaning it does demand that high level officials of the two governments must meet, however it is now within the legal purview of officials from the executive branch of the U.S. government to visit Taiwan or invite Taiwan’s leaders to Washington for official diplomatic meetings, if they choose to do so.

The article also cited Liu as saying that if "Taiwan Independence secessionist" forces were emboldened by the U.S. legislation, China's military would resume its military probes around the island and beef up its naval and air patrols of the Taiwan Strait. 

The article described the new law as the latest in a series of "provocative moves by the U.S. against China." It closed with Trump's plans on levying tariffs on US$60 billion worth of Chinese imports, indicating Beijing is watching for his next move, with retaliatory measures in mind.