China threatens Taiwan, saying Afghanistan withdrawal proves US ‘won’t help’ if war breaks out
China has pounced on the United States’ botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, using it to threaten the island of Taiwan.
The Taliban has swept aside the US-backed government in Afghanistan, and now controls the capital, Kabul, along with most major provincial cities.
The past 24 hours have been marked by disturbing scenes at Kabul International Airport, where thousands of Afghans have swarmed the tarmac in a desperate attempt to flee. Seven of them have died, including people who tried to cling onto US planes and fell from the sky.
The Global Times, a state-affiliated tabloid newspaper, is published by the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, The People’s Daily.
In an editorial published today, The Global Times suggested America’s abandonment of Afghanistan after 20 years was an “omen” for Taiwan’s “future fate”.
China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and has vowed to “unify” it with the mainland. The territory’s democratically elected leaders say it’s a sovereign state.
Officially, the US considers Taiwan’s status undetermined, but is opposed to any attempt by China to force it into unification. It has sold defensive military equipment to Taiwan and established an “American Institute”, an embassy in all but name, on the island.
The editorial argued that the situation in Afghanistan had “dealt a heavy blow to the credibility and reliability” of the US.
“How Washington abandoned the Kabul regime particularly shocked some in Asia, including the island of Taiwan,” it wrote.
“Taiwan is the region that relies on the protection of the US the most in Asia, and the island’s Democratic Progressive Party authorities have made Taiwan go further and further down this abnormal path.
“The situation in Afghanistan suddenly saw a radical change after the country was abandoned by the US. And Washington just left despite the worsening situation in Kabul. Is this some kind of omen for Taiwan’s future fate?
“(DPP politicians) must have been nervous and felt an ominous presentiment. They must have known better, in secret, that the US is not reliable.”