China says US 'playing with fire' on Taiwan

The remarks come after US President Joe Biden vowed to defend the self-ruled island. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - The United States is "playing with fire", the Chinese State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said Monday (May 23), after President Joe Biden vowed to defend the self-ruled island in the event Beijing attempts to take control, state media reported.

The United States is "using the 'Taiwan card' to contain China, and will itself get burned", said Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the office.

The remarks by Biden earlier in the day were his strongest to date on the issue of Taiwan and come amid rising tensions over China's growing economic and military power.

State outlet Xinhua said Zhu "urged the United States to stop any remarks or actions" that violate previously established principles between the two countries.

Asked Monday if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, Biden replied: "Yes." "That's the commitment we made," he said.

The US president spoke in Tokyo where he is meeting with Japan's prime minister ahead of a regional summit Tuesday.

Washington and allies like Japan have framed a tough response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine as a warning to others, especially China, against unilateral military action.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office falls under its State Council, which is often described as the country's cabinet.

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