Explain yourself! Furious Truss summons Chinese Ambassador over Xi 'aggression' in Taiwan

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss called Beijing’s military drills in close proximity to the island of Taiwan “increasingly aggressive behaviour” of concern to the UK. She confirmed that Zheng Zeguang had been summoned to explain China’s changing policy towards Taipei.

Ms Truss said in a statement:”I instructed officials to summon the Chinese Ambassador to explain his country’s actions.

“We have seen increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from Beijing in recent months, which threaten peace and stability in the region.”

She added: “The United Kingdom urges China to resolve any differences by peaceful means, without the threat or use of force or coercion.”

Ms Truss, a Conservative leadership candidate, has been keen to show she will be “tough” on China as a potential successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

She criticised China’s “inflammatory” rhetoric and “live fire” drills which kicked off following US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to Taiwan last week.

Ms Pelosi was the most high-profile US diplomat to make the journey to Taipei in 25 years.

Ms Truss said: “I do not support China’s inflammatory language on this issue.”

She added: “It’s perfectly reasonable what is taking place and I urge China to de-escalate.”

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The US, and the UK, adhere to the ‘One China’ principle with their diplomatic relations, although Western countries have cultivated a “robust” relationship with Taipei.

Taiwan has had a separate, democratically-elected government for decades, whereas Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province to be eventually reunited with mainland China.

Ahead of Ms Pelosi’s visit, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said: “The US side will bear the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereign security interests.”

Ms Pelosi, after landing in Taiwan, responded: “Now, more than ever, America’s solidarity with Taiwan is crucial, and that’s the message we are bringing here today.”

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Shortly after Ms Pelosi’s departure, Beijing launched days of the country’s largest-ever “live fire” military drills near Taiwan’s territorial waters.

Hua Chunying said: “The Chinese military’s conducting of military exercises in the sea near China’s Taiwan are a necessary and just measure to resolutely protect national sovereignty.”

She added: “In the current struggle surrounding Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, the United States are the provocateurs, China is the victim.

“The joint provocation by the US and Taiwan came first, China’s just defence came after.”

China then announced a fresh round of drills on Monday, with Taiwan’s defence ministry reporting dozens of Chinese aircraft crossing the median line, the informal border between China and Taiwan.

On Wednesday, Beijing said the People’s Liberation Army had “completed various tasks” around Taiwan, but that the armed forces would maintain patrols in the area.

Taiwan’s defence ministry then said in response it would “fully adjust the allocation of forces based on factors such as the enemy threat”.

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