Chinese state media threatened military action in the Taiwan Strait in response to reports that top U.S. officials are considering changing the name of the Taiwanese representative office in Washington, D.C., to include the name "Taiwan" rather than "Taipei."
The Global Times, a mouthpiece for hawkish elements of the Chinese Communist Party, in a Sunday editorial assured swift retaliation against the United States through military and economic punishment if the country goes through with the name change. The newspaper also questioned American resolve in the wake of the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"If the [United States] and the Taiwan island change the names, they are suspected of touching the red line of China's Anti-Secession Law, and the Chinese mainland will have to take severe economic and military measures to combat the arrogance of the [United States] and the island of Taiwan," the editorial reads. "We must take resolute actions to protect the bottom line of this exact national interest at any cost. If the Democratic Progress Party authority really dares to take the risk of triggering a war to push for a name change, and the [United States], which just suffered a debacle in Afghanistan, is not afraid of being involved in a new war, then what is there for the mainland to be scared of?"
Such aggressive language comes on the heels of a report from the Financial Times that senior Biden administration officials seek to rename the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office to the Taiwan Representative Office. The move is reportedly backed by President Joe Biden's Asia policy czar Kurt Campbell.
China opposes the move, claiming Taiwan is part of its sovereign territory. The Global Times cited the example of Lithuania, which allowed Taiwan to open a "Taiwanese Representative Office" in the country in July. China retaliated against the Baltic country by recalling its ambassador from Lithuania and slapping on a wide array of economic sanctions.
Military standoffs around Taiwan have spiked in frequency this year. Beijing dispatched a fleet of advanced warships and fighter jets off the coast of Taiwan in August. Aggressive Chinese flights over Taiwanese airspace have forced record expenditures from Taiwan in air defense investments. American public support for defending Taiwan has reached a historic high amid the surge in tensions.