Don’t play with fire on Taiwan, China warns U.S

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China told the United States on Tuesday to stop playing with fire over Taiwan and lodged a complaint after Washington issued guidelines that will enable U.S. officials to meet more freely with officials from the island that China claims as its own.

The U.S. State Department’s Friday decision to deepen relations with self-ruled Taiwan came amid stepped-up Chinese military activity around the island, including almost daily air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters they had lodged “stern representations” with the United States.

China urges the United States “not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue, immediately stop any form of U.S.-Taiwan official contacts, cautiously and appropriately handle the matter, and not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, he said.

Washington has watched with alarm the uptick in tensions, and on Sunday U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan.

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