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China vows to 'counter threats and provocations' after US warship transits Taiwan Strait

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)
Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Milius in the South China Sea. It transited the Taiwan Strait on November 23. (Photo by SCMP)

China has accused the United States of “creating security risks” and “undermining regional stability” following the transit of an American warship in the Taiwan Strait.

A Chinese military spokesman in a statement on Tuesday said Beijing will take all necessary steps to counter threats and provocations, and safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Earlier in the day, the US Seventh Fleet, with headquarters in Japan, said the passage of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Milius through the Taiwan Strait was a routine transit.

The voyage, the 11th declared freedom of navigation exercise of the year, “demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said in a statement.

The latest transit came days after US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping traded barbs over Taiwan, among other issues, during a rare virtual summit.

During the high-octane meeting, Xi cautioned Biden that encouraging Taiwanese independence would amount to "playing with fire," according to reports.

US warships regularly conduct military exercises in the strait, prompting China to accuse Washington of stoking regional tensions and destabilizing the waters of South China Sea.

Tensions between China and the US over latter’s meddling in Chinese Taipei have escalated recently.

Taiwanese group penalized

Meanwhile, China has slapped fine on the mainland subsidiaries of a major Taiwanese industrial group over regulatory and legal violations, including environmental protection rules, Chinese media said Tuesday.

China’s official Xinhua news agency announced that Taiwan’s Far Eastern Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Chinese Taipei, was fined more that $13 million.

The action against the group comes amid Beijing’s warning that it will crack down on the pro-independence camp in Taiwan while the self-ruled island grows closer to the US and European Union.

The Taipei-based conglomerate is a major donor to the island’s election campaigns, according to media reports.

The Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokeswomen, Zhu Fenglian, said that Beijing "would never allow people who support Taiwan independence and damage cross-strait relations to make money on the mainland."

Zhu said that companies from the island have been told they need to draw a line between themselves and Taiwanese pro-independence factions.

"The vast number of Taiwanese companies need to tell the right from the wrong, stand firm on their position, while drawing the line against ‘Taiwan independence splittist forces’," she said in a statement Monday.

The statement came in response to a question about whether the punishment the Taiwanese business group received was connected to China’s efforts to sanction pro-independence Taiwanese politicians.

However, she did not draw a direct connection between business violations and political pressure on the self-ruled region.

China claims sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the "One China" policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. However, the country has been self-ruled since 1950.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway region that must one day be reunited with the mainland. Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its direct control.

The situation has become particularly tense since Tsai Ing-Wen took over the helm in Taiwan in 2016. She has maintained that Taiwan is independent and not part of China.

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