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China

Beijing complains to US over plan to boost Taiwan defence exchanges

Beijing complains to US over plan to boost Taiwan defence exchanges

BEIJING — China said yesterday that it had lodged a complaint with the United States after the US House of Representatives passed its version of a big annual defence Bill that would expand exchanges with self-ruled Taiwan.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said “negative content” related to Taiwan went seriously against the “One China” principle and was an interference in China’s internal affairs.

“China has already lodged stern representations with the United States about this,” Mr Lu told a daily news briefing. China resolutely opposes any form of official contact between the US and Taiwanese militaries, he said.

“We urge the United States to fully recognise the serious harmfulness of the relevant clauses in the Act, and should not allow them into law, and not turn back the wheel of history to avoid damaging the broad picture of Sino-US cooperation.”

China regularly calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue between it and the US.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a wayward province, and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.

The US has no formal ties with Taiwan, but is bound by law to help it defend itself and is the island’s main source of arms.

The National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), passed by the House on Friday, also proposes expanding training and exercises with Taiwan.

China urged the US last month to immediately revoke its “wrong decision” to sell Taiwan US$1.42 billion (S$1.94 billion) worth of arms, saying it contradicted a “consensus” President Xi Jinping had reached with his US counterpart Donald Trump during April talks in Florida.

Beijing’s relationship with Taiwan has been frosty since President Tsai Ing-wen won election on the island by a landslide last year.

China suspects that Ms Tsai, who leads the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party, wants to declare the island’s formal independence — a red line for Beijing. Ms Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China. REUTERS