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China calls on US to ‘correct mistake’ on Taiwan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang (photo by AFP)

Beijing has called on Washington to “correct its mistake” following a move by US President Donald Trump to approve high-level contacts between officials from US and Taiwan, which China claims sovereignty over.

China called for the rectification in a statement issued on Saturday after Trump signed the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages visits between US and Taiwanese officials “at all levels.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the clauses of the approved bill were legally non-binding but “severely violate the One China principle” and sent “very wrong signals to the pro-independence separatist forces in Taiwan.”

“China is strongly opposed to that,” Lu said of the bill. “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.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry official also reiterated Beijing’s call for Washington to stop official exchanges with Taiwan, sever military relations with the self-ruled island, and stop selling arms to it.

Trump signed the bill on Friday. It had already been unanimously approved at both chambers of the US Congress.

China had earlier warned the US against passing the bill.

China and Taiwan split amid a civil war in 1949; however, Beijing’s leadership pursues their reunification.

In 1979, the US adopted the “One China” policy of recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The “One China” policy refers to the diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one state called China, despite the existence of two governments — one in China and another on the island of Taiwan.

Under the policy, the US recognizes and has formal ties with the government in Beijing rather than with Taiwan.

Trump has previously undermined that policy by taking a congratulatory phone call from the Taiwanese president after his election victory in November 2016. He had later reaffirmed commitment to the One China policy, however.

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