China has called on the US to “correct its mistake” after US President Donald Trump approved new rules allowing top-level US officials to travel to Taiwan to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts.
US representatives can already travel to Taiwan and Taiwanese officials occasionally visit the White House, but meetings are usually low profile to avoid offending China.
The Taiwan Travel Act, which Trump signed on Friday following its passage in the US Congress, encourages visits between Taiwanese and US officials “at all levels.”
Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 in favor of Beijing under its “one China” policy, but it maintains trade relations with Taiwan and sells it weapons.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) said the act’s clauses, while not legally binding, “severely violate” Beijing’s “one China” principle and send “very wrong signals to the ‘pro-independence’ separatist forces in Taiwan.”
“China is strongly opposed to that,” Lu said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“We urge the US side to correct its mistake, stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way,” he said.
In a separate statement, Chinese Ministry of National Defense spokesman Colonel Wu Qian (吳謙) said the act “interferes in China’s internal affairs.”
China urges the US to “stop pursuing any US-Taiwan military ties and stop arms sales to Taiwan, so as to avoid causing serious damage to the bilateral and military relations between China and the US, and to the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Wu’s statement said.
The act describes Taiwan as “a beacon of democracy” in Asia, and states that “Taiwan’s democratic achievements inspire many countries and people in the region.”
Trump’s signature, announced late on Friday — when the White House usually tries to bury news — comes amid increasing tensions between Taiwan and China.
The new US law also comes amid trade tensions between Washington and Beijing as Trump mulls fresh tariff measures that have raised fears of a tit-for-tat trade war.
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