The U.S. Senate has angered China by passing a bill promoting closer U.S. ties with Taiwan. China expressed its dissatisfaction on Thursday.
China considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province and integral part of “one China”. It maintains that the island is ineligible for state-to-state relations, and has never renounced the use of force to bring it back under its control.
The U.S Senate passed the Taiwan Travel Act without opposition. It passed in a similar manner in the House of Representatives in January. The legislation now needs President Donald Trump’s signature to become law.
According to the bill, it should be U.S. policy to allow officials at all levels to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts, permit high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the United States “under respectful conditions” and meet with U.S. officials, and encourage Taiwanese economic and cultural representatives to conduct business in the United States.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said though the bill seriously violates the “one China” principle.
She told a news briefing that “China is strongly dissatisfied with this and resolutely opposes it, and has already lodged stern representations with the U.S. side”.
According to her, the “one China” principle is the foundation for China-U.S. ties.
China urges the United States to cease official exchanges with Taiwan and “prudently and appropriately handle issues related to Taiwan to avoid seriously interfering with and damaging China-U.S. relations”, she said.
The bill has further fueled the tension that already exist between China and the United States, as a result of trade. President Xi Jinping’s close economic advisor Liu He is due in Washington this week to try and avert a trade war.
Reuters, quoting authoritative sources, reports that top U.S. steel and aluminum executives have been invited to the White House later on Thursday for what could be a major trade announcement.
Trump has vowed to take steps to crack down on imports of steel and aluminum and has been considering imposing hefty tariffs on imports of the metals from China and other countries.