Thu, 17 Jun 2021

London [UK], May 6 (ANI): The Group of Seven (G7) nations have called for a greater engagement with Taiwan and warned China not to escalate cross-strait tensions following a spike in military manoeuvres around the self-ruled island.

In a joint statement released Wednesday, representatives from the G7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, underscored "the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," and encouraged the "peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues", CNN reported.

"We reiterate our strong opposition to any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions and undermine regional stability and the international rules-based order and express serious concerns about reports of militarization, coercion, and intimidation in the region," the statement added.

The ministers also said their governments supported Taiwan's "meaningful participation" in World Health Organization forums and the World Health Assembly.

Beijing has blocked Taiwan's participation in the WHO, despite the island's effective response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, China has condemned the G7 foreign ministers' meeting.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the statement made "groundless accusations" that were a gross interference in China's internal affairs, which it firmly condemned.

Since mid-September of last year, Beijing has stepped up its gray-zone tactics by regularly sending planes into Taiwan's Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), with most instances occurring in the southwest corner of the zone and usually consisting of one to three slow-flying turboprop planes.

Over the past few months, Taiwan has reported incursions by Chinese warplanes into ADIZ almost daily.

Meanwhile, China has said its military activities in the Taiwan Strait were targeted at "separatists" in Taiwan and "external forces".

Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war. (ANI)

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