Beijing, Aug 17 (EFE).- China warned on Thursday that repeated stopovers by Taiwanese officials in the United States were hurting the interests of the people on the island.
Pan Xianzhang, deputy head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, condemned the decision by the US to arrange stopovers for Taiwanese officials, the latest for Vice President William Lai during his trip to Paraguay.
Pan said the “collusion with external forces” by leaders of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) “will only push Taiwan into the abyss of disaster.”
The state-run Xinhua news agency reported that Pan made the remarks at a seminar on relations between the mainland and Taiwan on Thursday in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
The Chinese official said such stopovers by “Taiwan separatists” were akin to “provocation in collusion with external forces.”
He said the move demonstrated that they are “troublemakers undermining the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
Pan urged the Taiwanese to firmly oppose “Taiwan separatists and interference by external forces, and join hands with compatriots on the mainland.”
Taiwan’s vice president William Lai made a stopover in New York on Saturday during his trip to Paraguay – one of the 13 countries that maintain official ties with Taiwan.
Lai was in Paraguay for the inauguration of Santiago Peña as president.
On Wednesday, he made another stop in San Francisco before returning to Taipei.
China condemned the stopovers and warned that it would take “strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson described Lai, who will be the ruling party’s candidate in January presidential elections as “a troublemaker through and through.”
The spokesperson said the US and Taiwan authorities arranged for Lai to engage in political activities in America “in the name of a stopover.”
“This seriously violates the one-China principle, gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Chinese ministry urged the US to end official contact with Taiwan and stop supporting Taiwanese independence.
“The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations,” said the spokesperson.
China held military war drills around Taiwan in April when Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California after returning from a trip to Guatemala and Belize.
Taipei downplayed Lai’s stopover, asking Beijing not to “overreact.”
Military tensions over Taiwan Strait have been high since August 2022, when then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, sparking angered Chinese fury.
In response to Pelosi’s trip, China conducted military drills, encircling the self-ruled island, and sent warplanes across the median live that divides the strait.