China terms US senators Taiwan visit 'extremely irresponsible', vows to defend sovereignty
Beijing, China: Terming recent US senators' high profile visit to Taiwan "extremely irresponsible", China has vowed to defend Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan "at all costs". Recently, a US delegation travelled to Taiwan to announce the donation of 750,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses. Reacting to the visit, the Chinese defence ministry on Tuesday said the trip had seriously damaged the foundation of China-US ties and the stability of the Taiwan Strait, calling it "extremely irresponsible", South China Morning Post reported. "If anyone dares to separate Taiwan from mainland China, the People's Liberation Army will hit back and be determined to protect national unity and territorial integrity at all costs," ministry spokesman Wu Qian said in a statement.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said earlier in the day that the US should not send "wrong signals" to Taiwanese independence forces and should stop all official exchanges with the island. United States' growing engagement with Taiwan has irked China. On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signalled a possible resumption of trade and investment talks with Taiwan that have been stalled since the Barack Obama administration, though he did not indicate any willingness to pursue the full-scale trade pact Taipei has been seeking. Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades. Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.