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China blasts 'interference' after US delegation visits Taiwan

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning

China has lambasted a new visit to Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) by a delegation from the United States as “interference” in the internal affairs of the self-ruled island.

Mike Gallagher, the chairman of the US House of Representatives committee on China, who heads a five-member delegation, arrived in Taipei on Thursday for talks with the island’s leaders, including President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice-President Lai Ching-te, who won January’s presidential election and will assume power as the new president in May.

The US delegation said Washington would continue to support Taipei, no matter who becomes the next US president.

Later in the day, China condemned the move.

“Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China always resolutely opposes any form of official exchange between the United States and Taiwan authorities, and resolutely opposes the United States' interference in Taiwan affairs in any way or under any pretext,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning at a regular press conference.

China has sovereignty over the Chinese Taipei, and under the “One China” policy, almost all world countries recognize that sovereignty. The US, too, recognizes the Chinese sovereignty over the island but has long courted Taipei in an attempt to unnerve Beijing.

The Chinese government strongly opposes other countries pursuing official and diplomatic ties with the Taipei and has consistently warned the US and other states against engaging with the self-proclaimed government in Taipei.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), led by Tsai, by tradition, advocates independence for the island. Taipei claims the island is under constant military threat from China. Beijing dismisses that allegation.

“We urge the US to be mindful of the extreme complexity and sensitivity of the Taiwan question, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, prudently and properly handle issues relating to Taiwan, stop official contact with Taiwan and stop sending any wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,’” Mao stated.

Beijing has time and again said it will use force, if necessary, to add Taiwan to China’s mainland. President Xi Jinping has been articulate about that matter.

Gallagher, however, warned Beijing that any attempt to invade Taiwan would “fail.”

“The message we want to send in a bipartisan fashion is: If Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party were to ever make the incredibly foolish decision to attempt an invasion of Taiwan, that that effort would fail,” he said.

Separately on Thursday, Taiwan’s defense ministry announced that Washington had issued a notice for a $75-million arms sale to help Taiwan upgrade its Link-16 communications systems.

Washington’s arms sale to Chinese Taipei proceeds under the terms of the so-called Taiwan Relations Act of 2022, and there is bipartisan support for providing the island with weapons.

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