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17 Sep, 2020 09:54

China threatens to make ‘necessary response’ ahead of US official’s Taiwan visit

China threatens to make ‘necessary response’ ahead of US official’s Taiwan visit

Beijing has lodged a complaint with Washington ahead of a visit by US Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach to Taiwan as China opposes any official exchanges between Washington and the island.

Krach, who is due in Taipei later on Thursday, is traveling to Taiwan for a memorial service on Saturday for former President Lee Teng-hui, who was revered by many as “the father of Taiwan’s democracy.”

Krach is likely to hold at least some form of trade talks during the trip, but the details were not announced. Ahead of the visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Beijing will make a “necessary response,” which will depend “on how the situation develops.”

Wang added that China has already lodged “stern representations” with Washington about Krach’s mission. The spokesman reiterated that China opposes any official exchanges between the US and Taiwan and stressed that the visit could help the forces of Taiwan independence and damage Sino-US ties.

“We urge the US side to fully recognize the extreme sensitivity of the Taiwan issue,” Wang said. He did not elaborate, however, on how Beijing may response.

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Krach is expected to meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday. This visit follows a trip last month by US Health Secretary Alex Azar, the highest-level US official to come to the island in four decades.

Relations between Beijing and Washington have sharply deteriorated in recent months amid disagreements over Hong Kong, Taiwan, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, human rights, and other issues.

The US has official relations with Beijing, but is bound by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to help Taiwan defend itself and is its main arms supplier. As President Donald Trump ramps up pressure on China ahead of his November re-election bid, Reuters cited its sources as saying that the US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles, and drones to Taiwan.

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