By Oyintari Ben
The United States has been accused by China of sending “extremely erroneous, hazardous signals” about Taiwan. Beijing has informed Washington that it has “no right to interfere” with Beijing’s efforts to “resolve” the Taiwan problem.
On the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had 90 minutes of “direct and honest” discussions about Taiwan, a US source told reporters.
The senior US administration official stated, “The secretary made crystal clear that, in accordance with our long-standing one-China policy, which again has not altered, the maintenance of peace and security across the Strait is absolutely, vitally crucial.”
In a statement on the meeting, China’s foreign ministry claimed that Washington was sending “extremely erroneous, dangerous signals” regarding Taiwan and that the more aggressively Taiwan pursues independence, the less likely it was that a peaceful resolution would be reached.
The ministry quoted Wang as saying, “The Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese affair, and the United States has no authority to interfere in how it will be resolved.”
According to Chinese official media, Wang and Blinken discussed China’s position on the “wrong behaviour” of the US towards Taiwan during their meeting.
Wang told Blinken, according to a report in China’s Global Times, “We must emphatically reject and prevent “Taiwan independence.”
Since Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan in August and large-scale military exercises were held there in response, tensions over the island have risen. Additionally, US President Joe Biden recently vowed to defend the democratically-run island.
The commitment of US soldiers to defend Taiwan was made explicit in Biden’s comments for the first time.
In a meeting earlier this week, also on the fringes of the UNGA in New York, Wang delivered a similar message to James Cleverly, the foreign minister of the United Kingdom.
According to a statement from China’s foreign ministry, Wang said the UK should “honour its one-China pledge and resolutely oppose ‘Taiwan independence’.”
The White House has stressed that its stance on Taiwan has not changed, but China claimed that Biden’s comments sent the incorrect message to those who want an independent Taiwan.
Taiwan is regarded by China as one of its provinces. Beijing has long pledged to annex Taiwan and hasn’t ruled out using force to accomplish it.
The government of Taiwan vehemently rejects China’s claims to sovereignty and maintains that only the 23 million residents of the island can decide its future.
Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a warning over Taiwan in a phone conversation with Biden in July, stating that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”
Blinken’s meeting with Wang on Friday, according to the State Department’s earlier statement, was a component of US efforts to “keep open channels of communication and manage competition appropriately.”