China Urges US to Cut Ties With Taiwan as Beijing Launches Drills
In April, the US State Department approved the possible $95 million sale of contractor technical support and equipment for the Patriot air defence system to Taiwan. China has repeatedly condemned US assistance to the government in Taipei as interference in the country's domestic affairs.
Beijing has urged the United States to sever all official contacts with Taiwan, which China considers its unalienable part, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday.
"The US should stop official exchanges with Taiwan," Zhao told reporters, noting that US actions are contrary to the one-China principle and the principles of the three joint communiques between the two countries.
China will hold military exercises near Taiwan in response to what it considers to be US provocations, the Chinese Defence Ministry said.
"On 15 April, the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Eastern Theater Command sent warships, bombers, fighter jets and other forces to organize multi-purpose combat patrols and conduct sea and air exercises in the East China Sea and around the island of Taiwan," the command said in a statement.
Taiwanese news agency CNA reported that a delegation of six US congressmen, headed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, arrived on the island on Thursday on an unannounced visit for talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and National Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng.
In response, Beijing said it firmly opposes any official contact between the US and Taiwan.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said that the US "should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqu√©s" and stop any form of "official exchanges with Taiwan and avoid going further down this dangerous path."
Prior to that, the Pentagon said it had got the US State Department's approval of a possible $95 million deal with Taiwan that will include training, fielding, deployment, operation, maintenance and sustainment of the Patriot system as well as associated equipment.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan, which is a territory with its own democratically-elected government, maintains that it is an autonomous country.
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