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China warns US to 'stop playing with fire' over Taiwan

Beijing opposes Washington’s new guidelines for government contacts with Taiwan

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Twitter, Zhao Lijian photo)

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian (Twitter, Zhao Lijian photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China's Foreign Ministry has urged the U.S. to "stop playing with fire" on Taiwan issues after the State Department unveiled new guidelines enabling American officials to meet more freely with their Taiwanese counterparts.

On Friday (April 9), State Department Spokesman Ned Price announced new rules for government contacts with Taiwan, which he said are aimed at encouraging government engagement between the two countries. The revised rules allow working-level meetings with Taiwanese officials to take place in federal buildings and at Taiwan's representative office, according to a source familiar with the decision.

The announcement came a day after the White House voiced concern over Beijing's increased military presence in the Taiwan Strait and described its recent actions as "potentially destabilizing."

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday (March 13), Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) emphasized Beijing's firm opposition to Washington's new guidelines. He said the U.S. should "immediately stop any form of U.S.-Taiwan official contacts" and handle issues related to Taiwan with caution to avoid sending "wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces."

Zhao said the U.S.' attempt to deepen relations with the Taiwanese government will damage its ties with China and disrupt peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. He added that such behavior is a serious violation of political commitments made between China and the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said over the weekend that it would be a "serious mistake" for Beijing to try to alter the status quo in the Taiwan Strait by force. He said the U.S. is committed to "maintaining peace and security in the western Pacific" and making sure Taiwan has the ability to defend itself.

Updated : 2021-05-17 06:46 GMT+08:00