China criticized U.S. official visit to Taiwan, reaffirmed sanctions

Beijing –

China on Wednesday sharply criticized a visit to Taiwan by a senior Pentagon official and reiterated sanctions on Lockheed Martin and Raytheon forces for supplying military equipment to the autonomous island democracy.

Comments from the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office underscored the dramatic deterioration in relations between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, technology, espionage allegations and, increasingly, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Asked about the visit of Chinese Assistant Defense Minister Michael Chase, bureau spokesman Zhu Fenglian said China “resolutely opposes any official exchanges and military cooperation” between the United States and Taiwan.

Efforts by Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party to solidify the island’s independence with foreign backing are “destined to fail,” Zhu told reporters.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory and will take control of it by force if necessary, and has stepped up its military and diplomatic harassment. Both sides split during her 1949 civil war, and China’s autocratic Communist Party has never ruled the island.

A Pentagon spokesman did not directly comment on Mr. Chase’s visit, but reiterated that it “is unwavering in its commitment to Taiwan and contributes to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and within the region.” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had no information about such a visit.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the “new tensions” in the Taiwan Strait were the result of Taiwanese authorities’ “seeking independence with the help of the United States and the United States’ intention to contain China within Taiwan.” said.

“We urge the United States to stop any official contact between the United States and Taiwan, to stop interfering in the Taiwan issue, and to stop creating new sources of tension in the Taiwan Strait,” Wang said at a regular press conference.

Tensions between the United States and China escalated again after Washington accused Beijing of sending a reconnaissance balloon that was shot down over the U.S. East Coast last month. Secretary of State Antony Brinken canceled a trip to Beijing in the wake of the incident and said over the weekend that the United States was concerned that China would provide Russia with arms for its war in Ukraine.

China, which has declared “endless” friendship with Russia, has blatantly refused to criticize Russia’s actions, accused the US and NATO of provoking the Kremlin, and denounced sanctions imposed on Russia. . On the other hand, Russia strongly supports China over Taiwan.

Chinese Communist Party diplomat Wang Yi, who visited Moscow on Tuesday, said relations between Moscow and Beijing were “solid as a rock” and “will stand the test of the unstable international situation”.

Russia and China “have a great opportunity to continue close strategic cooperation and contact to safeguard their common strategic interests,” he said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said he had no information about a possible visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow this spring.

A delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting Taiwan met with President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday, who said she wanted more cooperation on issues ranging from security to climate change.

On Monday, the delegation met with the Speaker of Parliament as part of a five-day visit. They include California Rep. Lo Khanna, Texas Rep. Tony Gonzalez, Massachusetts Rep. Jake Auchincloss, and Illinois Rep. Jonathan Jackson.

A congressional team met with Morris Chan, founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, considered the father of the island’s world-leading microchip industry, which is now heavily invested in U.S. production. .

Both Khanna and Okincross are members of the new House Select Committee focused on competing with China.

As exchanges escalated, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and National Security Council Chairman Wellington Koo were in Washington on Tuesday for what appeared to be a security council.

They were filmed by Taiwan’s private TVBS television station entering the offices of the agency the United States uses to oversee relations with Taiwan in lieu of formal diplomatic relations. Although it severed formal ties in 1979, it remains the island’s main political and military ally.

China has reacted increasingly violently to increased exchanges with Taiwan by officials and elected representatives of the United States and other democracies. Taiwan maintains strong informal ties with dozens of other countries.

Last Thursday, China imposed trade and investment sanctions on Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies Inc.’s Raytheon Missile and Defense, banning them from importing goods into the country or making new investments in the country.

The Department of Commerce has declared it added to the “Unreliable Entities” list of companies whose activities are restricted because they may jeopardize national sovereignty, security or development interests. It was not clear what impact the penalties would have.

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