China has threatened to punish Chinese Taipei’s pro-independence "diehard" politicians over criminal charges and warned to ban their visit to the mainland as tensions between the two sides spiked to their highest level in years.
“The mainland will pursue criminal responsibility for Taiwan independence diehards in accordance with the law, to be effective for life,” China's Taipei Affairs Office in Beijing said in a statement on Friday, referring to Chinese Taipei’s pro-independence leaders.
The statement by spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian named Chinese Taipei’s Premier Su Tseng-chang, parliament speaker Yu Shyi-kun and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as among the independence supporters.
Zhu said the politicians "have tried to instigate cross-strait confrontation, maliciously attacked and slandered the mainland... severely undermining cross-strait relations."
She added that Beijing has prohibited them and their family members from entering the mainland, Hong Kong or Macau.
Zhu stressed that the pro-independence politicians’ affiliates would also be restricted from cooperating with mainland organizations and individuals, without giving further details.
China has sovereignty over Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. The US, too, recognizes Chinese sovereignty over the island but has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.
Tensions between Chinese Taipei, China and the US have been at their highest in decades.
China has been flying fighter jets close to Chinese Taipei while the US has reportedly had troops deployed in the territory for the past year training their people.
Last month, US President Joe Biden said the United States would come to Taipei's aid if it were to come under attack from China, claiming it had a commitment to defend the self-ruled island.
Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses: