China is urging the U.S. to prevent the Taiwanese president from making a transit stop in the U.S. on her way to Latin America in January.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen plans to stop in Houston and San Francisco next month, but China is calling on the U.S. to block her entry into the country.
“We hope the U.S. can abide by the ‘one China’ policy … and not let her pass through their border, not give any false signals to Taiwan independence forces, and through concrete actions safeguard overall U.S.-China relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Thursday.
China made another complaint earlier this month, before the Taiwanese president’s trip had been confirmed.
“China hopes the U.S. “does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to ‘Taiwan independence’ forces,” China’s foreign ministry told Reuters on Dec. 6.
“The so-called transit diplomacy is only a petty trick played by the Taiwan leader, whose hidden political agenda should be clear to all,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said.
“There is only one China in the world, the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China and Taiwan is only part of China,” he reiterated.
The Department of State reportedly rejected the request, stating the planned transit stop is a “long-standing U.S. practice, consistent with the unofficial nature of U.S. relations with Taiwan.”
A Chinese carrier group led by the Liaoning, China’s first and only aircraft carrier, sailed past Taiwan recently.
“Relevant training and exercises will help the PLA enhance its capability of deterring the Taiwan secessionist forces and safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and are conducive to maintaining the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Ministry of National Defense spokesman Yang Yujun said Thursday.
The transit stop dilemma has come up before.
China criticized the U.S. in 2000 for giving then-Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian a visa to stop in Los Angeles on his way to the Caribbean.
“Even if the transit stops have happened many times before, it does not mean we like it,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington told the New York Times.
The U.S. also granted visas to former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui in 1995 and 1997.
Beijing is highly suspicious of Tsai Ing-wen, who is opposed to the “one China” policy. China fears that Tsai will push for the independence of Taiwan.
The already tense situation between Beijing and Taipei was exacerbated when President-elect Donald Trump accepted a phone call from Tsai in a surprising break with diplomatic protocol. Trump also questioned the value of continuing to uphold the “one China” policy if China refuses to play by the rules in other areas, such as trade.
The Taiwanese president’s planned stop over in the U.S. will occur several days before Trump takes office.
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