ISLAMABAD: China on Sunday vowed “resolute and forceful measures” over a weekend trip by Taiwan Vice President William Lai to the United States, adding it was closely monitoring the situation.
Lai — the frontrunner in Taiwan’s presidential elections next year — is officially making only transit stops in the United States en route to and from Paraguay, where he will attend the inauguration of president-elect Santiago Pena.
Taiwan is part of China but US government time and again makes provocative statements about the island.
“China is closely following the development of the situation and will take resolute and forceful measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a spokesperson for the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
On landing in New York on Sunday, Lai said on Twitter, now rebranded as X: “Happy to arrive at the Big Apple, icon of liberty, democracy and opportunities,” adding that he was greeted at the airport by representatives of the American Institute in Taiwan, the United States’s de facto embassy for the island.
“Looking forward to seeing friends and attending transit programmes in New York,” he wrote.
Lai is expected to continue to Paraguay, then stop in San Francisco on his way back.
“China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the US and the Taiwan region. We firmly oppose any visit by ‘Taiwan independence’ separatists to the US in any name or under whatever pretext, and we firmly oppose the US government having any form of official contact with the Taiwan region,” said the foreign office spokesperson, adding, “China deplores and strongly condemns the US decision to arrange the so-called ‘stopover” for Lai Ching-te”.
The statement said that Lai Ching-te clings stubbornly to the separatist position for “Taiwan independence”.
“He is a troublemaker through and through. The US and the Taiwan authorities arranged for Lai to engage in political activities in the US in the name of having a ‘stopover’. This seriously violates the one-China principle, gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement added.
“The fact once again shows that the fundamental cause of the continued tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan authorities’ attempt to solicit US support for ‘Taiwan independence’ and that the US are bent on using Taiwan to contain China,” the statement asserted.
“The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, deliver on its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence’ or ‘two Chinas’ or ‘one China, one Taiwan’, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop conniving at and supporting ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces and their separatist activities and stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle,” the statement added.
“China is closely following the developments of the situation and will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it concluded.