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China vows retaliation against US diplomatic visits to Taiwan, slams support for island's independence

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 Wang Wenbin speaks during a news conference in Beijing, China, on July 27, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

China has condemned a recent visit by a senior US official to Taiwan as a “political provocation,” saying any support for the self-ruled island’s independence is "doomed to fail."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Monday, threatening retaliation against US diplomatic visits to Taiwan, which take place in open defiance of China.

"China will take appropriate countermeasures, including targeting relevant individuals," Wang said , without elaborating on details.

He further noted that US actions will "further damage the cooperation" between the two countries, and said any support for Taiwan's independence is a “dead end” and” doomed to fail.”  

China, which has sovereignty over Taiwan, firmly opposes any official exchanges between the US and the island.

The remarks came after US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach visited Taiwan on Thursday.

Krach is the highest-level official from the State Department to visit the island in decades.

China has already filed a complaint with the United States over Krach’s visit to Taiwan.

This is the second highest-level visit by a US official to the island. Back in August, US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar also visited Taiwan despite warnings from Beijing.  

China considers the self-ruled island as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland under the “One China” policy. Nearly all countries of the world, including the United States, recognize that sovereignty.

Under that policy, countries are not allowed to have formal relations with Taiwan.

Although Washington has no formal relations with Taipei, it is the island’s largest weapons supplier and an avid backer of Taiwan’s secessionist president.

China has repeatedly warned Washington against ties with Taiwan.

The administration of President Donald Trump announced last month that it was establishing a new economic dialogue with Taiwan focused on technology, health care, energy and other sectors.

Washington has also stepped up military support for Taiwan in recent years through increased arms sales and it is now pushing the sale of seven large packages of weapons to the island.

The latest development also comes as China has launched military drills near the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan's air force has scrambled its jet fighters to monitor their activities as numerous Chinese warplanes crossed the sensitive midline of the Taiwan Strait.

Relations between China and the United States have hit the lowest level in decades under Trump.

The two world powers are at loggerheads over a host of issues, including trade, Hong Kong, the origins and handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the disputed South China Sea.

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