In an official statement, the mainland government warned Taiwan leaders to make choices about the future carefully or the "Chinese people will crush their schemes firmly and thoroughly at any cost."We've always had friendly (though unofficial relations with the ROC, and it is through our defense surplus sales that Taiwan has been able to maintain its freedom since 1949. Indeed, in 1979 the Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act, a law generally interpreted as mandating U.S. defense of Taiwan in the event of an attack from the Chinese mainland. We maintain a significant naval contingent, the Seventh Fleet, in the Pacific region near Taiwan. Although the stated purpose of the fleet is not Taiwanese defense, it is for the most part safely assumed from past actions that that is indeed why the fleet is stationed in those waters.
"At present, the relations across the Taiwan Strait are severely tested," the statement said. "To put a resolute check on the 'Taiwan independence' activities aimed at dismembering China ... is the most pressing task before the compatriots on both sides of the strait."
"[Recently reelected ROC President] Chen Shui-bian has left Taiwan society deeply torn with his vicious mischaracterization of the popular will of the Taiwan people, his unbridled instigation of hostility and animosity towards the mainland, and his frenzied provocation to the status quo that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to the one and same China," the harshly worded document said.
The statement added: "The Taiwan leaders have before them two roads: one is to pull back immediately from their dangerous lurch towards independence ... The other is to keep following their separatist agenda to cut Taiwan from the rest of China, and in the end, meet their own destruction by playing with fire."
Thus, this should come as no surprise:
The U.S. has sent its aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Kitty Hawk to cruise the East Asian region [...].Big stick diplomacy at its best. I'll keep you posted on this smoldering situation.