China calls on US to ban transit by Taiwan president
Iran Press TV
Tue Dec 6, 2016 11:35AM
China has urged the United States not to allow Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to transit there when she visits Guatemala in January.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its own territory awaiting reunification with China and any move implying independence for the island would anger Chinese leaders.
Tsai is reportedly planning to transit in New York early in January during her trip to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Guatemala's Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morale confirmed the visit, saying it will take place on January 11-12.
Asked about the possibility of transit by Tsai in the US, China's Foreign Ministry expressed Beijing's hope that the US "does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to 'Taiwan independence' forces."
It also stressed that the "One China" principle was commonly recognized by the international community, adding Tsai's real aim is "self-evident."
Washington cut formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979 and recognizes Beijing as the sole government of "One China". The US, however, remains Taiwan's most important political ally and sole arms supplier.
There was no official confirmation of Tsai's trip, but visits to Central Ameerica are normally combined with transit stops in the US.
Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang underscored that any presidential travel details would be released at the proper time.
The reports on the transit comes few days after China lodged an official protest with the US over a direct contact by phone between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan's president.
The 10-minute telephone call was the first by a US leader since former president Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.
According to one report, Tsai's delegation would seek to meet Trump's team, including his White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, and that the trip would take place before Trump's inauguration on January 20.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he had no information about such meeting.
"What I can say about that is that that kind of transit is based on longstanding US practice, and it's consistent with the unofficial nature of our relations with Taiwan," Toner said in a regular media briefing.
An adviser to Trump's transition team however ruled out a meeting between Tsai and Trump if she were to stop in New York.
China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the Western Pacific Ocean. They split politically following the 1927-1950 Chinese Civil War and there have been no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations ever since.
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