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On August 10, China declared that it would not tolerate any "separatist activities" in Taiwan and reiterated its threat to annex the island if necessary. Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, issued the warning following days of unusual military exercises surrounding the island that were provoked by a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Despite stern warnings from China, which seeks to keep Taipei isolated on the international scene, Pelosi last week made history by becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in decades.

Also Read: Rising pork prices push China consumer inflation to 2-year high

The Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party's deputy chairman, Andrew Hsia, visited China in an unofficial role but did not go to the Chinese capital. He was criticised by the party of President Tsai Ing-wen for crossing the Taiwan Strait when Chinese military exercises were still going on in the area.

"Not only is the timing wrong and the stance confused, it's also letting down the military, which is working hard to defend the country," the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said in a statement on social media.

Also Read: China says US must pay price for its mistake, gets irked by Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan

A distinct Taiwanese identity has arisen since the island's transition from an autocrat to a thriving democracy in the late 1990s. Since Tsai became president in 2016, relations between the two sides have substantially deteriorated. Taiwan is not regarded by Tsai and her party as being a part of China.

The Taiwan Affairs Office of China published a white paper on August 10 outlining its plans to annex the island through a variety of financial incentives and military pressure.

"We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification, but we will leave no room for separatist activities in any form," said the paper.

China will "not renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures".

Also Read: China provoking India on LAC in Eastern Ladakh

It added, however: "We will only be forced to take drastic measures to respond to the provocation of separatist elements or external forces should they ever cross our red lines."

In 2000, China last published a white paper on Taiwan. The release coincided with a high-ranking opposition leader from Taiwan flying to China to meet with Taiwanese entrepreneurs, drawing criticism from Taipei, which had urged him to postpone the trip.

On August 9, Taiwan's foreign minister said that Beijing was encircling the island with air and naval manoeuvres in preparation for an invasion and to rebalance the power in the Asia-Pacific.

"China has used the drills and its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan," Joseph Wu told a press conference in Taipei. "China's real intention is to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and entire region."

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