Beijing protests over US-Taiwan travel Bill

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated that Beijing was opposed to the legislation and urged the US to abide by the "one China" policy on March 16, 2018.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated that Beijing was opposed to the legislation and urged the US to abide by the "one China" policy on March 16, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China's Foreign Ministry yesterday expressed its "resolute opposition" after United States President Donald Trump signed legislation last Friday that encourages the US to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.

In a statement, the ministry said that China urges the US to handle Taiwan-related issues cautiously to avoid causing serious harm to Sino-US ties and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region. China considers self-ruled and democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province ineligible for state-to-state relations.

The White House said the Bill, which is non-binding, would have gone into effect yesterday morning, even if Mr Trump had not signed it.

The US move adds to strains between the two countries over trade, as Mr Trump has enacted tariffs and called for China to reduce its huge trade imbalance with the US, even while Washington has leaned on Beijing to help resolve tensions with North Korea.

Earlier on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated that Beijing was opposed to the legislation and urged the US to abide by the "one China" policy, which stipulates that Taiwan is part of China, and cease official exchanges with Taiwan.

In a statement after Mr Trump's signing of the Bill, the Chinese embassy said clauses of the legislation "severely violate the one-China principle, the political foundation of the China-US relationship".

"China is strongly dissatisfied with that and firmly opposes it," it said, adding that the US should "stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way".

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed its thanks for the "friendly move" by the Trump administration, saying the government would continue to deepen its cooperation and partnership with the US at all levels.

The US does not have formal ties with Taiwan but is required by law to help it with self-defence, and is the island's primary source of weapons.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Beijing protests over US-Taiwan travel Bill'. Print Edition | Subscribe