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US sending ‘dangerous signals’ on Taiwan: Beijing

Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute, “direct and honest” talks between Antony Blinken and the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, on the margins of the UN general assembly in New York on Friday

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New York:  China has accused the US of sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” on Taiwan after the US secretary of state told his Chinese counterpart that the maintenance of peace and stability over Taiwan was vitally important.

Taiwan was the focus of the 90-minute, “direct and honest” talks between Antony Blinken and the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, on the margins of the UN general assembly in New York on Friday, a US official told the media.

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“For our part, the secretary made it crystal clear that – in accordance with our long-standing one-China policy, which again has not changed – the maintenance of peace and stability across the Strait is absolutely, vitally important,” the senior US administration official said.

China’s foreign ministry, in a statement on the meeting, said the US was sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” on Taiwan, and the more rampant Taiwan’s independence activity, the less likely there would be a peaceful settlement, the BBC reported.

“The Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese matter, and the United States has no right to interfere in what method will be used to resolve it,” the ministry cited Wang as saying.

Tensions over Taiwan have soared after a visit there in August by the US House of Representatives speaker, Nancy Pelosi – which was followed by large-scale Chinese military drills – as well as a pledge by the US president, Joe Biden, to defend the self-governed island.

Biden’s statement was his most explicit to date about committing US troops to the defend the island. 

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

Blinken also “highlighted the implications” if China were to provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or engage in wholesale sanctions evasion, the official added.

US officials have in the past said they had seen no evidence of China providing such support.

Blinken “underscored that the United States and China and the international community have an obligation to work to counter the effects of that invasion and also to deter Russia from taking further provocative actions”, the official said.

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

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

Blinken’s meeting with Wang was preceded by one between the foreign ministers of the Quad grouping of Australia, India, Japan and the US, which issued a statement, referring to the Indo-Pacific, saying that “we strongly oppose any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region”, the BBC reported.

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