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US urged not to escalate use of Taiwan card

By ZHOU JIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-15 06:56

Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing, Jan 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Ministry warns Washington against sending wrong signals to secessionists

The United States has been escalating its move to play the Taiwan card and making the Taiwan question a hot spot as US President Joe Biden's first delegation of former US senior officials arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday, an expert said.

The three-day visit is the latest diplomatic outreach made by the US after Washington issued a new guideline on Friday, enabling US officials to meet more freely with officials from Taiwan. China responded by warning the US "not to play with fire".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday that China has lodged stern representations over the visit, urging Washington to stop sending any wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" forces.

Zhao said at a daily news conference that China urged the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, and to stop all forms of official contacts with Taiwan.

The US should prudently deal with Taiwan-related issues to avoid further damaging cross-Straits stability as well as China-US relations, he said.

The three members of the visiting delegation are former US senator Chris Dodd and former US deputy secretaries of state Richard Armitage and James Steinberg. The delegation was set to meet with Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen.

The delegation is visiting Taiwan on the 42nd anniversary of the so-called Taiwan Relations Act, which Biden backed when he was a senator. China has repeatedly expressed opposition to the act.

Lyu Xiang, a China-US relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US delegation's visit is testing China's limits on the Taiwan question.

Although China's response to the meeting is cautious and calm, he said, the US should not underestimate Beijing's resolve to take countermeasures or the efficacy of the measures.

The US has escalated and is making a more aggressive move on Taiwan because it is hiding "Sinophobia" and trying to contain China using Taiwan as a pawn, he said.

On the other hand, Washington has begun to "raise its voice" on issues like Taiwan and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to embolden itself, and to unite its allies in an attempt to form a so-called alliance of Western values to contain China, he added.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said on Wednesday that the visit will not help improve cross-Straits relations, and will do little to stabilize the situation but will intensify tension in the Taiwan Straits.

The visit will not change the fact that Taiwan is a part of China, Ma added.

He urged the US to take concrete actions to honor its promise on the Taiwan question.

The US must first figure out right and wrong, he said, adding that the root cause of the complex and severe situation in the Taiwan Straits rests with the Democratic Progressive Party authorities and "Taiwan independence" separatists' colluding with external forces.

Ma said China is willing to make utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification, but will never leave room for any forms of separatist activities seeking "Taiwan independence".

Ma said the People's Liberation Army's organizing of actual combat exercises in the Taiwan Straits is a necessary action to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Straits and to safeguard national sovereignty.

The PLA's military exercises and training operations are sending a signal that China's determination to curb "Taiwan independence" and Taiwan-US collusion is not just talk, Ma said.

China opposes the US hyping up the so-called Chinese military threat and playing the Taiwan card, he said.

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