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US officials face sanctions over 'nasty' Taiwan behavior: China

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)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (C) listens while inspecting military troops in Tainan, southern Taiwan, on January 15, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

China says the United States will pay a heavy price over its engagements with Taiwan, after Washington upgraded relations with the self-ruled Chinese island in defiance of Beijing.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that US officials, who have engaged in “nasty” behavior over Taiwan, will face sanctions.

“Owing to the wrong actions of the United States, China has decided to impose sanctions on responsible US officials who have engaged in nasty behavior on the Taiwan issue,” she said.

In the final days of the administration of US President Donald Trump, his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced “self-imposed” bans on meetings with Taiwanese officials had been lifted.

The move worsened the already tense relations between Washington and Beijing.

China has repeatedly warned the US against attempts to establish official relations with Taiwan.

Under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries, including the US, recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan and are not allowed to have formal relations with Taipei.

But the Trump administration has constantly supported the island’s secessionist president Tsai Ing-wen and provided her government with weapons over the past years.

Beijing says the US contacts with Taiwan and the weapons sales to the island violate Chinese sovereignty.

Following constant warnings from Beijing, a visit by US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, to Taiwan was called off, but she spoke to Tsai in a phone call last week.

She said that Washington stands by Taipei and always will.

Craft is due to leave the role when Joe Biden assumes the presidency on Wednesday.

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