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China issues warning to Philippines over Manila’s Taiwan remarks

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Mao Ning. (File photo by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

China has issued a warning to the Philippines over Manila’s recent remarks after Chinese Taipei elected a new president.

Beijing summoned its ambassador in Manila on Tuesday and warned the Philippines "not to play with fire" after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr congratulated Taiwan's president-elect Lai Ching-te on his election victory.

China was "strongly dissatisfied with and resolutely opposes these remarks," Beijing’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said, referring to Marcos congratulating Lai on Monday for winning the election and referring to him as its next president.

"The relevant remarks of President Marcos constitute a serious violation of the One China principle and ... a serious breach of the political commitments made by the Philippines to the Chinese side, and a gross interference in China's internal affairs," the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning announced at a briefing in Beijing.

"China has lodged a strong protest with the Philippines at the earliest opportunity," and summoned its ambassador "to give China a responsible explanation," Mao added.

In an earlier statement last week, China’s Foreign Ministry reaffirmed the “One China” policy, saying the Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair and regardless of changes in the island, Taiwan is part of China.

The statement came on Saturday after Lai Ching-te, a candidate from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, won the island’s presidential election. By tradition, the DPP advocates independence for the island.

“The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. Whatever changes take place in Taiwan, the basic fact that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China will not change,” the statement pointed out, adding that the international community’s prevailing consensus on upholding the one-China principle and long-standing and overwhelming adherence to this principle remains unchanged.

“The one-China principle is the solid anchor for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” the Ministry reiterated.

Taipei’s 64-year-old president-elect addressed people in his victory speech on Saturday, reiterating that he is “determined to safeguard Taiwan from China” vowing to remain on incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen’s pro-Western path.

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