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Beijing tells US ‘not to play with fire’ over Taiwan issues after Washington gives diplomats freedom to meet Taiwanese officials

Beijing tells US ‘not to play with fire’ over Taiwan issues after Washington gives diplomats freedom to meet Taiwanese officials
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has lodged “stern representations” with Washington and called on the US not to send the wrong message about Taiwanese independence by further diplomatic relations with Taipei.

Speaking on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned Washington against continuing and enhancing its diplomatic relations with the island nation. China urged the US “not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue, immediately stop any form of US-Taiwan official contacts, cautiously and appropriately handle the matter,” the spokesman told reporters. 

Zhao claimed the US’ recent decision to give its diplomats more freedom to meet with Taiwanese officials would harm Washington’s relations with Beijing. He demanded Washington stop “sending wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” 

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On Friday, the US State Department elected to deepen diplomatic ties with officials in Taipei by “liberalizing guidance on contacts with Taiwan.” These “new guidelines for US government interaction with Taiwan counterparts to encourage US government engagement with Taiwan” reflect “our deepening unofficial relationship,” Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said in a statement. 

China has repeatedly called on Washington to steer clear of Beijing’s internal affairs, including issues relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan an integral part of its territory.

On Monday, Taiwan accused the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of its largest incursion of the nation’s air defense zone with jets and nuclear-capable bombers buzzing its airspace, while last week, a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait, much to Beijing’s anger.

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