U.S. accuses Beijing of changing status quo of China-Taiwan relations

US State Dept. Official: 'China is altering the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and undermining the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades'

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WASHINGTON (CNA) -- The U.S. State Department on Friday accused China of changing the cross-Taiwan Strait status quo as it expressed disappointment at Burkina Faso's decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan, widely suspected to be due to enticements from Beijing.

"China is altering the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and undermining the framework that has enabled peace, stability, and development for decades," a spokesperson for the department said in an emailed response to the media.

"We have a shared interest in international security stability and we are disappointed that Burkina Faso did not take these factors into consideration in its decision to cut ties with Taiwan."

Praising Taiwan as a vibrant democracy and reliable partner, the spokesperson said the United States continues to stand by the island and conducts cooperative and friendly relations with it in accordance with Washington's one-China policy set forth in the three Joint Communiques and Taiwan Relations Act.

Burkina Faso announced Thursday that it was cutting ties with Taiwan based on "the firm desire of the government of Burkina Faso to defend the interests of Burkina Faso and its people in the concert of nations."

Although the African nation made no direct mention of China in its statement, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry said Beijing "welcomes Burkina Faso to join in China-Africa friendly cooperation as soon as possible on the basis of the one-China principle."

He also said people "should not be surprised" if China establishes diplomatic relations with Burkina Faso someday.

Burkina Faso's decision came as yet another blow to Taiwan, which had lost another diplomatic ally, the Dominican Republic, to Beijing on April 30.

China has been stepping up its efforts to suppress Taiwan internationally since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power in May 2016.

The loss of Burkina Faso leaves Taiwan with just 18 diplomatic allies, down from 22 when Tsai first took office. Sao Tome and Principe cut ties with Taiwan in December 2016, followed by Panama in June 2017.