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China reaffirms Taiwan threats following naval mission

China reaffirms Taiwan threats following naval mission

BEIJING (AP) — China is reaffirming its threats to take action to block "independence separatist plots" by self-governing Taiwan, following the recent passage of Chinese navy ships through the Taiwan Strait.

Spokesman for the Cabinet's Taiwan Affairs Office Ma Xiaoguang made the comments Wednesday in response to a question about whether the mission by a destroyer and cruiser was intended as a warning to the island's independence-leaning government.

Ma warned independence supporters not to "play with fire" and said China has the "stern will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence separatist plots."

Ma's comments came as United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is visiting Beijing for talks, during which official are expected to reiterate China's opposition to U.S. military assistance to the island claimed by Beijing.