Chinese Ambassador to US: Taiwan ‘tinderbox’ could spark conflict

WASHINGTON D.C.: In a rare interview, Qin Gang, China’s Ambassador to the U.S., warned that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China, as quoted by National Public Radio.

"The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States," Qin said.

China views Taiwan, a self-governing, democratic island, as a rebel province that must be brought under its control, whether through peaceful unification or by force.

Maintaining the ambiguous status quo, rather than formal independence, is supported by the current Taiwanese government, but its efforts to strengthen its ties with other countries and participate in international entities has angered Beijing.

In his interview, the first with a U.S. journalist since he took office last July, Qin claimed Taiwan has been "emboldened by the U.S.

Qin’s comments came days after China flew 39 warplanes through Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, in the largest incursion since October.

Due to China’s alleged genocide and atrocities, including forced labor and sterilization against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang Province, the U.S. and other Western countries have led a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, which is set to start February 4.

Qin called the allegations "fabrications, lies and disinformation," claiming that Uyghurs "enjoy happy life," like other Chinese citizens.

At the same time, Qin said some Uyghurs are terrorists and "the destination for them is prisons," and asserted that others who have been influenced by extremist thoughts had been sent to "vocational schools" for an "opportunity to change," he told National Public Radio.