'It Means War': China State Media Warns Taiwan Against Warplane Action

A Chinese Community Party newspaper said Chinese warplanes "must fly over the island of Taiwan" and warned that Taiwanese government retaliation "means war."

An article by Hu Xijin, the combative editor-in-chief of Chinese state newspaper Global Times, came after yet another round of potential U.S. arms sales to Taiwan was announced by the Department of Defense.

Hu accused Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of promoting anti-China sentiment through "de-sinicization," working with Washington to "jeopardize the rise of the mainland."

Hu cited the Chinese foreign ministry's recent sanctions against American defense companies Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense and Raytheon as proof of Beijing's "countermeasures" as Taiwan's weapons procurement escalates in quantity.

Under provisions of the Taiwan Relations Act, the U.S. government is to provide weapons of a defense nature to the island, which Beijing sees as a breakaway province.

The latest deal—worth an estimated $2.37 billion—means the Trump administration has approved a total of nine arms sales to Taiwan, including four in 2020.

Global Times, which represents the Chinese leadership's most hawkish views, said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) must now respond by "sending a clear signal to the DPP authorities."

"The fighter jets of the PLA must fly over the island of Taiwan to declare national sovereignty and show the determination to exercise the Anti-Secession Law," Hu wrote. "This is the firm step the Chinese mainland needs to walk in a bid to lock down 'Taiwan independence' tendencies."

He added: "The mainland should clearly warn the DPP authorities that if the Taiwan military dares to open fire at mainland warplanes flying over Taiwan, it means war and the PLA will deal a crushing blow to the Taiwan military."

The tightly controlled government outlet claimed public opinion in China was "widely expressing expectation for the PLA fighter jets to fly over Taiwan," and that it was "obvious that the PLA is making full preparations to exercise sovereignty over Taiwan."

Its chief editor called it "the will of 1.4 billion Chinese people."

Hu said: "We should not indulge the U.S. in selling weapons to Taiwan. They should pay the price for buying U.S. weapons, particularly offensive weapons. The PLA should warn them that it will destroy those newly purchased weapons."

He said seeking America's help for "Taiwan secession" was a "dead end," and the island's only option for maintaining peace was to return to the 1992 Consensus, which aligns with Beijing's One-China policy.

Taiwan's defense ministry has scrambled fighter jets on numerous occasions since September, when Chinese warplane activity began increasing in the Taiwan Strait and reportedly crossed the median line.

Taiwan presiden Tsai
File photo: Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks in front of a domestically-produced F-CK-1 indigenous defence fighter jet during a visit to Penghu Air Force Base September 22, 2020. Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images