On Friday, China told the US it should not allow Taiwan’s president to visit as it would violate international law. They also said that it would impose sanctions on American companies as a result of a possible arms deal between the US and Taiwan.
The president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, is scheduled to visit New York as part of a two-night “transit” stop while on her way to visit four Caribbean nations.
During her stay in New York, she is expected to attend a dinner with members of the Taiwanese-American community and speak at a Taiwan-US business summit.
However, China is not pleased with the idea of her visit. According to them, if she visits the US, she is doing so to continue relations with the US in hopes that the larger nation will support Taiwan in its quest for complete independence from China, as Taiwan is considered part of China’s territories.
Taiwan split from China during a civil war in 1949. However, China still considers her one of their provinces and seeks the reunification of the two nations ever since.
Their implementation of the ‘one China’ principle cites that nations must recognize Beijing as the seat of the Taiwan government and not Taipei, even though Taiwan is allowed their own president.
China has said on numerous occasions that it would make sure the two were reunited even if the use of force was necessary. And it is concerned that stops in the US and to its Caribbean neighbors will result in Taiwan forming allies against China for her independence. China’s foreign minister Wang Yi voiced these concerns while visiting Hungary recently.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said a briefing on Friday, “We urge the U.S. to abide by the ‘one China’ principle and …not allow Tsai Ing-wen’s stopover, cease official exchanges with Taiwan and refrain from providing any platform for separatist Taiwan independence forces.”
This comes as the Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it was considering an arms sale to Taiwan worth nearly $2.2 billion.
The deal is said to include 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, 108 General Dynamics Corp M1A2T Abrams tanks, as well as machine guns, ammunition, and other military support. Experts in Washington say that the sales will not alter the military balance in the area.
According to China, the US should not “play with fire.” Wang Yi said, “If the U.S. side wants to create new troubles in U.S.-China relations, ultimately their actions will backfire.” He went on to say, “We urge the United States to fully recognize the gravity of the Taiwan question.”
And while the US has no official diplomatic ties to Taiwan, Washington is required to provide military and other support to Taiwan according to a law put in place some time ago. By following this law, the US has become Taiwan’s leading arms supplier.
However, Beijing considers this sale to be an act that supports Taiwan’s independence and therefore, only adds stress to the already tight year-long trade war between the US and China.
As a result of “a serious violation of international law and the basic norms governing international relations,” Shuang says, “China will impose sanctions on the US enterprises involved in the above-mentioned arms sales to Taiwan” in an effort “to safeguard our national interests.”
President Tsai is scheduled to stay four nights on American soil and then travel on to Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia as part of a 12-day trip. It is noted that these island nations are some of the few that recognize Taiwan and its capital of Taipei instead of China as the nation’s head.
Before leaving on her trip, Tsai said, “Our democracy has not come easily and now is facing the threat and technological penetration of foreign forces,” – a cloaked reference to China. She went on to say that the trip’s purpose was to share her values of democracy and persistence with those who are considered to be Taiwan’s friends.