US sends ‘danger signal’ to Taiwan, China tells Blinken

Taiwan was at the center of a 90-minute “direct and honest” conversation between Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

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China has accused the United States of sending a “very wrong, dangerous signal” about Taiwan after the US secretary of state told his Chinese counterpart on Friday that maintaining peace and stability for Taiwan is extremely important.

Taiwan was at the center of 90-minute “direct and honest” talks between Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a US official told reporters. pellets.

“For his part, the Minister made clear that, under our longstanding one China policy, once again unchanged, maintaining peace and stability across the strait is absolutely, extremely important.” , senior US administration officials said.

China’s Foreign Ministry, in a statement about the meeting, said that the United States was sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” about Taiwan, and that the more widespread Taiwan’s independence activism, the more likely it was. the less likely there will be a peaceful solution.

“The Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair, and the United States has no right to interfere in what method it will use to solve it,” the ministry quoted Wang as saying.

Tensions over Taiwan spiked following a visit there in August by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi – followed by large-scale Chinese military exercises – as well as a pledge by US President Joe Biden to protect the democratically governed island.

Biden’s statement was his clearest to date of sending US troops to defend the island. It is also the latest instance of him seemingly going beyond the longstanding US policy of “strategic ambiguity”, which does not make it clear whether the US would respond militarily to an attack on the US military. Taiwan or not.

The White House insists its Taiwan policy has not changed, but China says Mr Biden’s remarks sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan.

In a phone call with Biden in July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned about Taiwan, saying “those who play with fire will be killed by it.”

China considers Taiwan one of its provinces and has long vowed to bring the island under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so.

Taiwan’s government strongly opposes China’s claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry, responding to the meeting between Blinken and Wang, said China’s “recent provocative actions” have made the Taiwan Strait the focus of discussion and China is trying to “confounds international audiences with arguments and criticism that contradict reality.”

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The State Department had previously said that Blinken’s meeting with Wang was part of a US effort to “maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition”, and the senior official High said Blinken reiterated the US’s openness to “cooperating with China on global issues of concern.”

Blinken also “emphasized the implications” if China provided material support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or engaged in wholesale sanctions, the official added.

US officials have previously said they have seen no evidence of such Chinese assistance.

Blinken “emphasized that the United States and China and the international community have an obligation to work to counter the effects of such aggression and also to prevent Russia from taking further provocative actions,” the official said. this said.

‘Destroy our bilateral relationship’

Blinken’s meeting with Wang came ahead of a meeting between the foreign ministers of the Quad Group of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region. “

Since Pelosi’s visit “China has taken a number of provocative steps that are designed to change the status quo,” the US official said.

US Vice President Kamala Harris will discuss Taiwan security in bilateral meetings with leaders of US allies Japan and South Korea when she visits them next week, another US official said. .

Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat for Asia under President Barack Obama, said the Blinken and Wang meeting was important after the turbulence caused by Pelosi’s visit and hoped some progress would be made. in arranging a meeting between Xi and Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in November, which will be their first face-to-face meeting as leaders.

“Wang and Blinken’s decision to meet in New York does not guarantee that the summit in November will go smoothly or even that it will. But if they cannot meet, it means Hope for a summit in November is very poor,” he said. Russell, now works for Asia Society.

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In a speech to the Asia Society in New York on Thursday, Wang said the Taiwan issue is becoming the biggest risk in Sino-US relations.

“If it is mishandled, it will most likely destroy our bilateral relationship,” Wang said, according to a transcript from the Chinese embassy.

Likewise, the decades-old US law outlining Washington’s unofficial relations with Taiwan – which Beijing considers null and void – makes it clear that Washington’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan China in 1979 “based on the expectation that the future of Taiwan would be determined by peaceful means.”

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