West sending ‘wrong signals’ to Taiwan – Beijing — RT World News

West sending ‘wrong signals’ to Taiwan – Beijing — RT World News

By praising president-elect Lai Ching-te, US and its allies are encouraging “separatist forces,” China’s foreign ministry has said

China’s foreign ministry has condemned Western governments for applauding Taiwan’s pro-independence president-elect following his electoral victory. The West, Beijing warned, should not “interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

Lai Ching-te of Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was elected as the self-governing island’s new leader on Saturday. Lai, who considers Taiwan “already an independent and sovereign nation,” has vowed to build up the island’s defenses to counter what he calls the “continuing threat and intimidation from China.”

Shortly after Lai was declared victorious, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent a message of congratulations to Taipei. “We look forward to working with Dr. Lai and Taiwan’s leaders of all parties to advance our shared interests and values, and to further our longstanding unofficial relationship, consistent with the US one China policy,” Blinken’s message read.

Under the ‘One China’ principle, Washington recognizes, but does not endorse, Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan. Speaking to reporters earlier on Saturday, US President Joe Biden emphasized that the US does “not support independence” for Taiwan.

Nevertheless, the Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that Blinken’s statement went beyond the US’ “political promises of only maintaining cultural, business and other unofficial ties with Taiwan,” and sent “grave wrong signals to Taiwan’s separatist forces,” according to a readout from the ministry. 

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron issued a similar message to Lai, offering “warm congratulations to the people of Taiwan on the smooth conduct of those elections and to Dr. Lai Ching-te and his party on his election,” while former Prime Minister Liz Truss went further, declaring that “we must do all we can to ensure Taiwan is able to defend itself.”

In response, China’s embassy in London stated that it “firmly opposed the wrong practices of the British side,” and urged the British government to “stop any words or deeds that interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell delivered a more muted message than Blinken or Cameron, congratulating “all the voters who participated in this democratic exercise,” without naming Lai directly. 

Taiwan has governed itself since nationalist forces led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949, after they lost a civil war to the Communists. Beijing’s official position is that it will strive to peacefully reunify the island with the Chinese mainland, while reserving the right to use military force if necessary. In the runup to Saturday’s vote, Chinese President Xi Jinping described the reunification of Taiwan and mainland China as “a historical inevitability,” while China’s Taiwan Affairs Office painted Lai as a “destroyer of peace across the Taiwan Strait.”

An American delegation including former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg is set to arrive in Taipei later on Sunday. While such trips are nominally unofficial, Beijing views them as challenges to its sovereignty over Taiwan. A visit in 2022 by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led to two weeks of large-scale Chinese military exercises around the island and prompted Beijing to sever diplomatic links with the US on a number of key issues, including climate change, maritime security, and other military sectors.

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