China warns US in opposition to ‘taking part in with hearth’ over Taiwan go to

TAIPEI: China warned Washington to not “play with hearth” on Wednesday as a US delegation wrapped up a historic journey to the self-ruled island of Taiwan.
Beijing has been infuriated by the highest-profile go to in many years to Taiwan, which it sees as a part of its territory, as US-China relations plunge to a document low over a spread of points from commerce to army and the coronavirus pandemic.
Health chief Alex Azar completed a three-day go to to Taiwan, throughout which he criticised China’s dealing with of the pandemic and visited the shrine of a former Taiwan president hated by the Communist Party management.
Beijing slammed the go to on Wednesday and stated it “firmly opposes official exchanges between the US and Taiwan below any pretext”.
“On points involving China’s core pursuits, some individuals within the US should not harbour illusions, those that play with hearth will get burned,” stated overseas ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at an everyday press briefing.
“I might additionally prefer to remind the Taiwan authorities to not be… subservient to others, to depend on the help of foreigners, and to be bent on pursuing independence, which is a lifeless finish,” Zhao stated.
Beijing insists that Taiwan — which has been self-ruled since 1949 — is a part of “one China” and has vowed to react with pressure if it ever formally declares independence.
On the final day of the journey, Azar visited a shrine to Taiwan’s late president Lee Teng-hui on Wednesday, praising his function in steering the island’s transition to democracy.
The US cupboard member wrote a message of condolence for Lee, who died final month aged 97.
“President Lee’s democratic legacy will perpetually propel the US-Taiwan relationship ahead,” Azar wrote.
Lee was a towering determine in Taiwan’s latest historical past.
He defied China by pushing for the island to be recognised as a sovereign nation and earned the nickname “Mr Democracy” for the half he performed in its transition from authoritarian rule.
Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its personal territory, loathed Lee. When information emerged of his demise, Chinese state media referred to as him “the godfather of Taiwan secessionism”.
Both Washington and Taipei portrayed Azar’s journey as a chance to be taught from the success of Taiwan’s battle in opposition to the coronavirus.
The island has fewer than 500 infections and simply seven deaths, in contrast with greater than 160,000 fatalities within the United States.
But the go to has additionally been a chance to ruffle Beijing’s feathers at a time when US President Donald Trump is taking an more and more arduous line in opposition to China as he seeks re-election in November.
– ‘Our good friend and accomplice’ – “We will proceed to help Taiwan as our good friend and our accomplice throughout safety, financial and healthcare points,” Azar instructed reporters after a go to to a masks manufacturing facility on Wednesday, shortly earlier than flying again the the States.
China takes umbrage at any formal recognition of Taiwan.
It referred to as for Azar’s journey to be cancelled and Taiwan accused Beijing of sending fighter jets over a de facto border on Monday, the day the US well being chief met President Tsai Ing-wen.
During his go to Azar has repeatedly contrasted Taiwan’s open, democratic system with China’s authoritarian management.
In a speech on Tuesday he recommended the coronavirus might need been stopped sooner had it emerged in a extra clear and democratic place, reminiscent of Taiwan, moderately than China.
He additionally hit out at Beijing for conserving Taiwan locked out of the World Health Organization.
China has taken an more and more hostile strategy in the direction of Taiwan since Tsai took workplace in 2016.
Despite the stress marketing campaign she gained a second time period earlier this yr with a landslide.

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