Beijing: China has warned the US “not to play with fire” on the issue of Taiwan just days after Washington issued new guidelines that will continue to enable US officials to freely meet Taiwanese counterparts, angering Beijing.
The warning from China came on a day when self-ruled Taiwan, viewed by China as a renegade region, said a record number of fighter jets from the mainland flew into its air defense zone on April 12.
China considers Taiwan as a “core” territorial issue and has been aggressively using the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to show off military strength around the island of about 23 million people.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters that China has lodged “stern representations” with the US over the guidelines.
China, Zhao said, urges 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, and not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”.
Only 15 countries officially recognize Taiwan, and do not have diplomatic ties with Beijing.