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China: US admiral trying to 'hype up' threat to Taiwan

China: US admiral trying to 'hype up' threat to Taiwan
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A top Chinese official knocked a U.S. military commander for what he said was an unnecessary attempt to raise fears over threats to Taiwan from Beijing.

In a statement obtained by AFP, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry said Adm. Philip Davidson, the top U.S. naval commander in Asia, is raising tensions without reason.

"Some US people continue to use the Taiwan issue to hype up China's military threat," Zhao Lijian reportedly said.

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"But in essence this is the US searching for a pretext to increase its military spending, expand its forces and interfere in regional affairs," he added.

Davidson earlier this week warned that Chinese "ambitions" toward Taiwan could manifest in as few as six years.

"I worry that they're accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules-based international order ... by 2050," Davidson said, according to AFP.

China and the U.S. have clashed in the press over Taiwan's fate in recent weeks. Beijing contends that Taiwan is legally part of China, while the U.S. has issued statements urging it to open formal diplomatic ties with the self-ruled island.

"The United States continues to express our strong concerns to Beijing regarding the troubling pattern of ongoing PRC attempts to intimidate its neighbors in the region, including Taiwan," a State Department spokesperson told The Hill on Sunday. "Our support for Taiwan is rock-solid. We will stand with friends and allies to advance our shared prosperity, security, and values and a free and open Indo-Pacific region  and that includes deepening our unofficial ties with democratic Taiwan."

U.S.-Taiwan relations saw a major boost under the Trump administration in 2020 when a U.S. delegation led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the country and met with their Taiwanese counterparts. The U.S. does not have official relations with Taiwan, but many unofficial ties.

Taiwan officially refers to itself as the "Republic of China" and in 1971 lost its seat at the United Nations to Beijing.