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China says US will pay ‘heavy price’ over plan to send UN ambassador to Taiwan

China and US flags. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle/Released)
January 11, 2021

China is threatening the U.S. will pay a “heavy price” after the U.S. announced U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft will travel to Taiwan to meet with Taiwanese counterparts.

In a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs press transcript from remarks Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said “China firmly opposes” the U.S. plan to send Craft to Taiwan.

“China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its own sovereign and security interests,” Hua said. “If the U.S. side insists on going its way, it will pay a heavy price for its wrong words and deeds.”

Hua’s reaction came after the U.S. Mission to the U.N. announced on Thursday that Craft would travel to Taipei to meet with senior Taiwanese officials from Jan. 13 to 15.

Hua said China considers the U.S. ambassador’s planned visit as a violation of the U.S.-held one-China Policy, which assumes Taiwan belongs to mainland China.

Hua said, “The actions of the U.S. side seriously violate the one-China principle.”

The U.S. Mission to the U.N., by contrast, stated, “During her trip, the Ambassador will reinforce the U.S. government’s strong and ongoing support for Taiwan’s international space, in accord with the U.S. one-China policy that is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-PRC joint communiques, and the Six Assurances to Taiwan.”

In her Friday remarks, Hua said Craft’s visit to Taiwan as a final act of “madness” in an anti-China effort by President Donald Trump’s administration in the final days of his presidential term.

“We have noticed that for a period of time, a few anti-China politicians in the Trump administration, or Pompeo and his like if you will, have put on stage their ‘final madness,’ unscrupulously using the remaining days in office to sabotage China-U.S. relations and serve their personal political gains,” Hua said.

Hua did not specify what “heavy price” the U.S. might pay for Craft’s visit.

Keith Krach, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment visited Taiwan in September. During his visit, China flew warplanes over Taiwanese airspace. In another warning move to the U.S. in October, China announced sanctions against U.S. arms manufacturers after the U.S. sold their weapons to Taiwan.

On Saturday, Pompeo issued his own statement titled “Lifting Self-Imposed Restrictions on the U.S.-Taiwan Relationship.”

In his statement, Pompeo said “Taiwan is a vibrant democracy and reliable partner of the United States, and yet for several decades the State Department has created complex internal restrictions to regulate our diplomats, servicemembers, and other officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts. The United States government took these actions unilaterally, in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing. No more.”

Pompeo also said executive branch agencies should consider all contact guidelines regarding relations with Taiwan that have previously been issued by the State Department as “null and void.”

Pompeo further stated executive branch relations with Taiwan will be handled by the non-profit American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Pompeo said, “The United States government maintains relationships with unofficial partners around the world, and Taiwan is no exception. Our two democracies share common values of individual freedom, the rule of law, and a respect for human dignity. Today’s statement recognizes that the U.S.-Taiwan relationship need not, and should not, be shackled by self-imposed restrictions of our permanent bureaucracy.”

It remains to be seen how Craft’s visit to Taiwan and Pompeo’s newly announce executive branch policies towards Taiwan could affect U.S.-China relations and how that impact could last into Joe Biden’s presidency.

Last week, China referred to Biden as “a new window of hope” for China’s relations with the U.S.