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Chinese official attempts to justify military drills around Taiwan in meeting with KMT vice chair

KMT Vice Chair Andrew Hsia supposedly relays Taiwanese resentment to Chinese saber-rattling

Andrew Hsia (right) meets Zhang Zhijun.

Andrew Hsia (right) meets Zhang Zhijun. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The head of China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) claimed on Wednesday (Aug. 24) Beijing’s military exercises around Taiwan were “an act of justice.”

The official made the remark in a meeting with Kuomintang (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言), who is in China on a controversial visit amid Beijing's relentless military maneuvers around the air and sea of Taiwan.

Hsia had dinner with Zhang in Kunshan, a city in Jiangsu and a hub of Taiwanese businesses. Hsia relayed Taiwanese people’s resentment toward Beijing’s intensified saber-rattling following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit and a salvo of retaliatory moves, including bans on Taiwan’s agricultural products, the KMT claimed.

Describing the talk as “candid,” the KMT representative also urged against confrontation and called for the resumption of communication and exchanges between the two sides. The KMT said this could start with cross-strait judicial cooperation to fight human trafficking in Southeast Asia involving Taiwanese victims.

Zhang said that the drills were a “just move” and a countermeasure against “external forces that promote Taiwan independence separatism,” according to China’s Taiwan Affairs Office. Zhang reiterated the importance of the so-called 1992 consensus, a disputable term for semi-official exchanges between Taiwan and China, as a foundation for engagement.

Hsia’s trip to China has come under fire from both within and outside the party. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) lambasted the trip as “sending a false message to the world,” while Hsia also quit as an advisor to the Taichung City Government after Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) criticized his trip, calling it “inopportune” and “causing trouble.”