China’s foreign minister, Qin Gang, issued a fiery warning to foreign entities inserting themselves into the contentious relationship between China and Taiwan: “Those who play with fire on Taiwan will eventually get themselves burned.”
These comments came at the end of Gang’s speech at Lanting Forum in Shanghai, where he covered numerous topics involving debt, China’s contributions to the global economy and interest in developing nations, and general praise for President Xi Jinping’s Global Security Initiative. The latter is China’s answer to the West’s perceived liberal hegemony in favor of China’s single-party system, economic growth, and social stability.
Starting off his statements on Taiwan and foreign elements surrounding the island’s affairs, Gang stated, “Recently, there has been absurd rhetoric accusing China of upending the status quo, disrupting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The logic is absurd, and the conclusion dangerous…fair-minded people can see who is engaged in hegemonic bullying and high-minded practices…It is not the Chinese mainland, but the Taiwan independence separatist forces and a handful of countries attempting to disrupt the status quo…”
Although the comments were not explicit in naming the foreign actors China sees as disruptive to its territorial control, recent months have shown a more aggressive Chinese vocalization of displeasure with the United States and its allies. In Qin Gang’s first press meeting as Foreign Minister, he echoed the president’s rebuke of the West, and its desire to limit and contain China’s influence.
China also rebuked a meeting between Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen on the 5th of April. In response to the meeting, China enacted a series of large-scale sea and air military drills in areas surrounding Taiwan, simulating encircling Taiwan. Remarks came from Beijing shortly afterward, making it clear that the military exercises were to serve as a stern warning to pro-independence forces in Taiwan and foreign supporters.
China has always been investing heavily in Latin America, with clauses that forbid countries to continue involvement in Taiwan, hence chipping away at their diplomatic relations.