Respect 'one China' policy, Beijing warns Washington

Message comes ahead of Taiwan leader's US visit, possible Obama-Dalai Lama meeting

The Dalai Lama speaking at an event on June 13 in Washington, DC.
The Dalai Lama speaking at an event on June 13 in Washington, DC.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING • China warned the United States to stick by its promises not to support any separatist activities, ahead of a US visit by Taiwan's new president and a possible meeting between the Dalai Lama and US President Barack Obama.

Self-ruled Taiwan and the remote mountainous region of Tibet are two of China's most sensitive political and diplomatic issues.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said yesterday both issues involved the "one China" policy, a basic diplomatic tenet referring to both Taiwan and Tibet being part of China that Beijing insists foreign governments recognise.

"On this issue the US government has made solemn promises, which are to uphold a 'one China' policy," Mr Lu told a daily news briefing.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen will transit in Miami on her way to Panama, one of the island's few diplomatic allies, for the Panama Canal expansion ceremony, and stop over in Los Angeles on her return, Taiwan's Deputy Foreign Minister Javier Hou said yesterday.

Her trip abroad from June 24 to July 2 will also include a state visit to another ally, Paraguay, the government said.

Travel abroad is sensitive for Taiwanese leaders who have angered China in the past because it is seen as asserting sovereignty.

China is suspicious of Ms Tsai, who assumed office last month, as she is the head of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

Mr Lu stated that the US has said it opposes Taiwan independence. "We demand the US government earnestly stand by its promises, conscientiously handle the relevant issue in accordance with the 'one China' principle and not give any space to any individual or behaviour which tries to create two Chinas - one China, one Taiwan - or to split China," he added.

The US' top envoy to Taiwan Kin Moy said yesterday Washington will be "consistent" in its handling of Ms Tsai's transit stops, reported Central News Agency.

Mr Moy was responding to questions on whether the US will accord Ms Tsai a higher level of courtesy compared with previous visits by her China-friendly predecessor Ma Ying-jeou.

On the issue of the Dalai Lama, China's Mr Lu said the US recognises that Tibet is an inseparable part of China.

"The 14th Dalai Lama often puts up the facade of religion to peddle internationally his political position of splitting China," he said.

"We demand no country or government give him any space for such activities and should certainly not do anything the 1.3 billion people of China would resolutely oppose."

Asked if he would meet President Obama during his three-day visit to Washington, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader told Reuters on Monday that it was "not finalised, but some friends say he may meet me".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Respect 'one China' policy, Beijing warns Washington'. Print Edition | Subscribe