China’s fuming over President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, but Beijing is also mad at Congress.
The Senate voted Wednesday to approve the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows U.S and Taiwanese officials to travel back and forth for meetings with their counterparts. The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives back in January, now awaits the signature of Trump, who previously cast doubt over America’s commitment to upholding the “one-China policy.”
“It seriously violates the one-China principle and the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, and we are firmly against the act,” An Fengshan, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said in response to the passage of the new legislation. “We sternly warn Taiwan not to rely on foreigners to build you up, or it will only draw fire against yourself.”
“Bellicosity has peaked in Congress and legislators approved the bill to vent their anxieties about China,” the nationalist Global Times wrote in response.
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The state-run China Daily argued the U.S. is pursuing war, asserting that the Taiwan Travel Act will embolden Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who Beijing believes has pro-independence leanings, to pursue diplomatic recognition as a state. Were Tsai to do so, it would trigger China’s Anti-Secession Law, permitting China to use force to preserve its territorial integrity.
“Since the US is bound by domestic law to act on behalf of the island in that instance, it would only give substance to the observation that the descent into hell is easy,” Chinese state media asserted.
Beijing also expressed serious concerns over an aspect of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which Trump has already signed into law. The legislation proposed permitting the Navy to make port calls in Taiwan. China also threatened war over that decision, stating that China will open fire on Taiwan if an American naval vessel ever visits.
Taiwan, however, has responded positively to America’s decisions.
#TaiwanTravelAct symbolizes the #US Congress’ longstanding support for #Taiwan. The Taiwan-US partnership is a key pillar of peace & stability for the Indo-Pacific region & I am grateful to all members of Congress who supported this important bill
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) March 1, 2018
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