China warns US of 'serious damage' to ties over economic talks in Taiwan

China cries foul over reports of US under secretary's upcoming trip to Taiwan for economic dialogue

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Wang Wenbin. (Global Times photo)

Wang Wenbin. (Global Times photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China has warned of "serious damage" to Sino-American relations if the U.S. does not cancel the economic meetings with Taiwan tentatively slated for Friday (Sept. 18).

On Sept. 2, reports surfaced that U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach may travel to Taiwan this month to engage in trade talks with the Taiwanese government. Over the weekend, it was reported that the talks could be held on Friday and focus on strategies in the Indo-Pacific region and restructuring supply chains.

When asked to comment on Krach's upcoming trip during a press briefing on Monday (Sept. 14), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) reiterated the regime's opposition to official exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S. He implied that such matters raise the "Taiwan question," which he claimed pertains to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Wang repeated the Chinese Communist Party's mantra of the "one China" principle, saying it is the "most important and sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations." He then demanded that the U.S. stop all official ties with Taiwan in order to "avoid serious damage to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Krach's visit and itinerary will not be made official until the Trump administration makes an announcement. His apparent trip comes on the heels of a tour by U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar last month, which marked the highest level visit to Taiwan by a U.S. Cabinet official since 1979.