On Monday, China threatened a firm response against the United States’ move to lift restrictions on official contacts with Taiwan, amid escalating military tensions between Beijing and the autonomous island.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Beijing “strongly condemns” the move, and accused the United States of violating the terms of diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing.
On Saturday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would lift “complex internal restrictions” on diplomats’ contacts with Taiwan.
This development comes a year after the escalating US-Chinese dispute over issues including human rights, trade and the source of the “Covid-19” pandemic.
Zhao warned that “any action that harms China’s vital interests will face a resolute counter-response from China,” urging Pompeo to backtrack on the decision.
Beijing says that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and should be restored by force if necessary, and rejects any diplomatic recognition of it, while Washington opposes any move to change the current status of Taiwan by force, and Congress is committed to selling Taiwan weapons for self-defense.
Some analysts said military tensions between China and Taiwan intensified last year, reaching their worst levels since the mid-1990s.
Beijing has intensified military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taipei since the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, who considers Taiwan to be de facto independent.
Chinese pressure was highest last year, with Taiwan repelling 380 incursions of Chinese combat aircraft into its air defense zones.