NEW YORK (Reuters) – China accused the United States of sending “very wrong and dangerous signals” to Taiwan after the U.S. Secretary of State told his Chinese counterpart on Friday that maintaining peace and stability on Taiwan is of paramount importance. .
A US official told reporters that Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute “direct and sincere” talks between Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“For our part, the secretary of state made it clear that according to the long-standing one-China policy, which has not changed again, maintaining peace and stability across the straits is very important and vital,” the US senior administration said. official said.
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China’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement about the meeting, said the United States was sending “very wrong and dangerous signals” about Taiwan, and that the more rampant Taiwan independence activity was, the less likely a peaceful settlement would be.
“The Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese affair, and the United States has no right to interfere in the method that will be used to solve it,” the ministry quoted Wang as saying.
Tensions over Taiwan escalated after a visit there in August by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – which was followed by large-scale Chinese military exercises – as well as US President Joe Biden’s pledge to defend the democratically governed island.
Biden’s statement was the most explicit yet on mandating US forces to defend the island. It was also the latest example of what appears to have bypassed a longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity,” which does not make clear whether the United States would respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan. Read more
The White House has insisted its policy on Taiwan has not changed, but China said Biden’s comments sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan. Read more
In a phone call with Biden in July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned of Taiwan, “Those who play with fire will perish with it.”
China considers Taiwan one of its provinces, and has long vowed to bring the island under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so.
Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claims to sovereignty and says only the island’s 23 million residents can decide its future.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry, responding to the meeting between Blinken and Wang, said China’s “recent provocative actions” had made the Taiwan Strait a focus of discussion, and that China was trying to “confuse the international public with arguments and criticisms that go against reality.”
The State Department had earlier said Blinkin’s meeting with Wang was part of a US effort to “maintain open lines of communication and manage competition responsibly,” and the senior official said Blinken reiterated the US’s openness to “cooperation with China on matters of global concern.” “
The official added that Blinken also “highlighted the implications” if China were to provide material support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or evade sanctions wholesale.
US officials have said in the past that they have seen no evidence of China providing such support.
The official said Blinken “stressed that the United States, China and the international community had an obligation to act to counter the effects of that invasion as well as to deter Russia from taking further provocative actions.”
destroying bilateral relations
Blinken’s meeting with Wang was preceded by a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Quartet of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, which issued a statement referring to the Indo-Pacific region, saying, “We firmly oppose any unilateral measures that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region.”
Since Pelosi’s visit, the US official said, “China has taken a number of provocative steps that have purposefully altered the status quo.”
Another US official said US Vice President Kamala Harris will discuss Taiwan’s security during bilateral meetings with leaders of US allies Japan and South Korea when she visits them next week. Read more
Daniel Russell, the top US diplomat for Asia under President Barack Obama, said the fact that Blinken and Wang met was important after the turmoil caused by Pelosi’s visit, and hopefully that some progress will be made toward arranging a meeting between Xi and Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in November, Which will be their first personal meeting as leaders.
“Wang and Blinken’s decision to meet in New York does not guarantee that the November summit will go smoothly or that it will happen. But if they could not meet, it would have meant that the prospects for a summit in November were poor,” he said. Russell, now with the Asia Society.
In a speech to the Asia Society in New York on Thursday, Wang said the Taiwan issue was growing to become the biggest danger in Sino-US relations.
“If he is mishandled, he is likely to destroy our bilateral relations,” Wang said, according to a text from the Chinese embassy.
Likewise, decades-old US law defining Washington’s informal relations with Taiwan – which Beijing considers invalid – makes clear that Washington’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1979 “is based on the expectation that Taiwan’s future will be determined by peaceful means.”
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Additional reporting by Humira Pamuk, David Bronstrom, Michael Martina and Simon Lewis; Additionally prepared by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; Editing by Mary Milliken, Jonathan Otis and Sandra Mahler
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