June 24 (UPI) -- China's defense ministry warned the United States Tuesday against interfering with Beijing's Taiwan policy.
Any Taiwanese move toward independence would also spell "war" for the island nation, Beijing said.
Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said Thursday at a regular press briefing that Taiwan's unification with the mainland is a "historical inevitability." Attempts to declare Taiwanese independence would be a dead-end road, and seeking independence means "war," the spokesman said.
Ren's remarks come after U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said earlier this month that the United States "won't abandon Taiwan," after a trip to Taipei to confirm a U.S. shipment of 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Duckworth's trip to Taiwan with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., was part of U.S. efforts to strengthen ties with Taiwan. Beijing condemned the trip at the time.
Relations between Taiwan and China have declined as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has pushed back against Beijing's one-China policy, which does not recognize Taiwanese sovereignty.
Tsai's advisers also have put forward new proposals that have drawn the ire of the Chinese government.
Yao Chia-wen, a senior adviser to Tsai, proposed in April changing the country's name to "Republic of Taiwan" from "Republic of China," Taiwan News reported.
Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, vowed to retaliate if Taiwan adopted a new name.
Ren said Thursday Taiwan is an "inalienable part of China," and that China is "firmly opposed to any form of official exchanges or military contacts between the United States and Taiwan."
Ren also said that the United States "cannot stop Chinese advancement" or economic rise, and that the United States should abide by the one-China principle and three U.S.-China joint communiqués.