Advertisement

U.S. ambassador's visit to Taiwan stirs tough response from China

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L), Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. (C) and U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland pose at a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, on Monday. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (L), Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. (C) and U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland pose at a press conference in Taipei, Taiwan, on Monday. File Photo by Ritchie B. Tongo/EPA-EFE

March 30 (UPI) -- China warned the United States and Taiwan against cultivating too-close ties after the U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland began an official visit to the island nation on Sunday.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday at a regular press briefing that Beijing opposes any form of government exchange between the United States and "China's Taiwan region."

Advertisement

Hua's statement comes after her colleague Zhao Lijian said the issue of Taiwan is "highly sensitive." The United States "must stop any official interaction with Taiwan, refrain from sending any wrong signals to Taiwan independent forces, stop any attempt to cross the bottom line," Zhao said Monday.

Under its One-China policy, Beijing does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty and penalizes countries like Palau by severing diplomatic ties.

RELATED China approves Hong Kong electoral overhaul

Hua's remarks in response to the U.S. diplomatic visit comes after Hennessy-Niland became the first U.S. ambassador to visit Taiwan in 42 years as a government representative, according to Taiwan News.

Hennessy-Niland was part of an entourage led by Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr. Palau and Taiwan have agreed to launch a travel bubble for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The bubble will allow travel starting this Thursday, according to the report.

Advertisement

Lin Ting-hui, deputy secretary-general of the Taiwan Society of International Law, said the U.S. visit is not an insignificant development, the Taipei Times reported.

RELATED Russia, China present united front, but there's plenty of potential for friction

Washington is becoming more active in cooperation with Taiwan and the ambassadorial visit augurs an era of greater coordination between the two countries and Palau in the areas of security and defense, Lin said, according to the report.

The Biden administration could be facilitating U.S. diplomatic visits to Taiwan.

The Financial Times reported Monday restrictions on interactions between U.S. and Taiwanese diplomats "will disappear," citing an unidentified official familiar with new administration guidelines.

RELATED WHO report indicates animal farms in Asia were likely origin of COVID-19

On Monday after the U.S. visit, 10 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan's air defense zone, according to Taipei.

Latest Headlines