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China warns of countermeasures after Pompeo congratulates Tsai

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen began her second four-year term in office Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen began her second four-year term in office Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Office of the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

May 20 (UPI) -- China on Wednesday expressed "strong indignation and condemnation" over U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's congratulatory remarks to Taiwan's president on the start of her second term in office, threatening to take countermeasures.

On Wednesday, Pompeo tweeted congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of her second four-year term as president of Taiwan, an island state China claims sovereignty over under the One China Policy.

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"Taiwan's vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world," Pompeo said. "With President Tsai at the helm, our partnerships with Taiwan will continue to flourish."

He also issued a statement saying the United States considers Taiwan to be "a force for good" in the world and that the two governments have a shared vision for the region that includes the rule of law transparency, prosperity and security for all.

In a statement, Beijing's foreign ministry condemned Pompeo's comments, stating his calling Tsai president and use of the word partnership in connection to Taiwan "constituted a gross interference in China's internal affairs."

"The U.S. side must stop official interactions and moves aimed at upgrading substantive relations with Taiwan," the ministry said. "It must stop meddling in China's internal affairs, and must terminate all moves and rhetoric that may jeopardize cross-Strait peace and stability and China-U.S. relations as a whole."

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The ministry said it wanted to make clear to the United States its "agenda" for Taiwan independence will "go nowhere" and actions to embolden separatists "is doomed to fail," stating any action that threatens China's goals will be met with a "forceful" countermeasure without elaborating.

"China will take necessary measures in response to the aforementioned wrong moves by the U.S.," it said. "The U.S. side must bear all consequences to arise therefrom."

Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked Pompeo for the message and "high praise" of its democracy in a tweet, stating "the government & people of Taiwan are sincerely grateful for the friendship & support of the U.S."

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The ministry said it was the first time a U.S. secretary of state had congratulated a Taiwan president.

During her inauguration speech Wednesday, Tsai rejected Beijing's demand for Taiwan to reunify with China.

Tsai said her government will not accept Beijing's One Country, Two System governmental framework for reunification.

"We stand fast by this principle," she said.

In response to Pompeo's tweet, Tsai said the Taiwan-U.S. partnership was strong and full of promise and that she looked forward to "furthering our friendship based on our many shared values and interests."

Several other U.S. politicians and officials also congratulated Tsai, including presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, former national security advisor John Bolton, Sen. Marco Rubio and others.

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