TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese state-run media on Sunday (Sept. 12) threatened that China would respond with "severe military measures" if the Biden administration allows Taiwanese officials to include "Taiwan" in the name of its de facto embassy in the U.S. capital.
The Financial Times on Saturday (Sept. 11) cited multiple sources as stating that the White House is "seriously considering" granting a request by Taiwan to change the name of its representative office in Washington from the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” (TECRO) to the “Taiwan Representative Office.” On Sunday, Chinese government mouthpiece the Global Times posted an editorial threatening military and economic retaliation if the U.S. goes through with the planned name change.
The editorial claimed that such a change would signify an abandonment of the "one-China" policy by the U.S. It expressed concern that if the change was to go through, it could result in a domino effect of other countries altering the name of Taiwanese representative offices within their borders.
The author alleged that the Biden administration has deliberately leaked the information about the decision to "test the Chinese mainland's response." If Biden gives the plan a green light, the article warned that it would push the issue to "the tipping point of a showdown."
Like China's response to Lithuania's decision to set up a "Taiwan Representative Office" in the country, the editorial claimed that Beijing would at the very least respond by recalling its ambassador to the U.S. However, it warned that diplomatic measures would not be sufficient and that such a name change would cross China's Anti-Secession Law red line, spurring Beijing to take "severe economic and military measures to combat the arrogance" of the U.S. and Taiwan.
The economic measures suggested include sanctions on Taiwan and an "economic blockade." On the military front, the state-run outlet claimed the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) would dispatch fighter jets to fly over Taiwan and place the country's airspace under China's control.
According to the opinion piece, Taiwan's armed forces "will not dare to stop PLA fighter jets" from flying overhead. It claimed that if Taiwan's military opens fire, China will not hesitate to "give 'Taiwan independence' forces a decisive and destructive blow."
The writer then expressed fears that if the U.S. is not put in check, the next step could be an invitation for Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to take part in Washington's upcoming "Summit for Democracy." The author then expressed worries about a cascade of American aggression, including U.S. warships docking in Taiwan, fighter planes landing on its bases, and troops stationed in the country.
Toward the end of the article, the bellicose rhetoric intensified with the threat that "sooner or later," the Taiwan Strait will be "plunged into a storm" that will drastically change the situation. It said China needed to be prepared to "blow them out of the water in the Taiwan Straits."
It described Biden's frequent use of the term "competition" to describe the relationship with China as "phrase mongering" and warned that such "competition" with Beijing over the Taiwan Strait "is bound to turn into a serious conflict."