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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (Photo: Reuters)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (Photo: Reuters)

China warns India on eyeing trade talks with Taiwan; slams US-Tibet meeting

  • 'There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory,' says Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian
  • The comments come against the backdrop of tensions between India and China along their common border in Ladakh

NEW DELHI: China on Tuesday warned India against launching any talks with Taiwan on trade saying such a move would be violative of the one China policy New Delhi has so far supported.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also slammed a meeting between Tibetan leader Lobsang Sangay and the newly appointed US coordinator for Tibet Robert Destro describing the appointment of Destro as interference in China's internal affairs.

On reports of increasing support in India on forging stronger links with Taiwan – that China considers a renegade province – Zhao said “There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory."

“The one-China principle is the universal consensus of the international community, including India, and it is also the political basis for China to develop relations with any country. China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between any country that has diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and the signing of any agreement of an official nature. The Indian side should strictly abide by the one-China principle and handle the Taiwan issue prudently and properly," he said.

The comments come against the backdrop of tensions between India and China along their common border in Ladakh. Many rounds of talks between the two sides have not been able to resolve the matter. Tempers have been high since May when India first noticed intrusions into its territory by Chinese troops.

When asked about the meeting between Sangay – who heads the Central Tibetan Authority in exile in India – and Destro in the US State Department in Washington on Friday, Zhao said “Tibet affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and no external forces are allowed to interfere."

“The establishment of the so-called ‘Special Coordinator for Tibetan Affairs’ by the United States was entirely out of political manipulation and aimed to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine Tibet's development and stability. China has always resolutely opposed this and has never recognized it, and has lodged solemn representations with the US," Zhao said.

He also went on to described the “so-called ‘Tibetan government in exile’" as a “separatist political organization" that is “organized and has a program that vainly seeks to achieve ‘Tibet independence.’"

“It completely violates the Chinese Constitution and laws and has not been recognized by any country in the world. As its leader, Lobsang Sangay is a complete anti-China separatist. China firmly opposes Lobsang Sangay’s anti-China separatist activities in any country in any capacity and in any name, and firmly opposes any contact between officials of any country in any form," Zhao added.

He also demanded that the US “immediately stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine Tibet's development and stability, and stop providing any support for ‘Tibet independence’ forces in their anti-China separatist activities. China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests."

Destro’s appointment last week was seen as a move that would exacerbate existing tensions between the US and China. US-China ties have been strained by trade issues as well as China’s role in seemingly allowing the covid-19 pandemic to spread around the world including to the US, which is now one of the worst affected by the pandemic. US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have often referred to the coronavirus as the “China virus" or “Wuhan virus" – infuriating Beijing. Then there are frictions over China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea as well as East China Sea. Pompeo has also referred to China’s aggression against India in Ladakh suggesting it conformed to a pattern that showed Beijing’s aggression.

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