China Warns US Not to ‘Play With Fire’ on Taiwan

Asia & Pacific

Joe Biden began escalating tensions with Beijing over Taiwan the day he stepped into office, with the island’s de-facto ambassador to the US invited to the new president’s inauguration for the first time since 1979. Military activities near the island, which is claimed by China, have been ramped up by both sides since then.

China rejects any form of official US-Taiwan contact, and urges Washington to avoid escalating the situation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has said.

China has lodged a formal complaint with the US over its activities, the spokesman added.

Zhao’s comments come in the wake of the State Department’s decision Friday to expand “unofficial” contacts with Taiwan, including via new guidelines which allow US officials to more freely and openly meet with their Taiwanese counterparts in the US, on Taiwan and at Taipei’s de-facto embassies and consulates abroad.

The growing diplomatic spat between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan has been accompanied by growing military tensions, with Taiwan’s defence forces reporting a surge in the flights of Chinese military aircraft through its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ). Beijing does not recognise the ADIZ, and considers the island itself an inalienable part of its territory. The Pentagon has accused China of plotting to invade Taiwan, and the US Navy has sailed missile destroyers and other warships through the Taiwan…

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