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China condemns US for lifting restrictions on interactions with Taiwan

China condemns US for lifting restrictions on interactions with Taiwan
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Chinese officials on Monday blasted the State Department for ending restrictions on relations with Taiwan, which Beijing considers Chinese territory.

“The Chinese people’s resolve to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshakable and we will not permit any person or force to stop the process of China’s reunification,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, told reporters Monday, according to Reuters.

Zhao went on to say that “any actions which harm China’s core interests will be met with a firm counterattack and will not succeed.”

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While the U.S. has no official relations with Taiwan, arms sales to the island have increased under the Trump administration. Under the changes announced by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoJilani: China 'sending clear message' to Biden officials with sanctions that opposition could lead to 'future pay cut' New Israeli envoy arrives in Washington, turning page on Trump era Biden ousts controversial head of US Agency for Global Media MORE, Taiwanese officials will be free to meet at official locations such as the White House or State Department offices.

“Taiwan-U.S. relations have been elevated to a global partnership,” Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters, according to Reuters. “The foreign ministry will not let our guard down and hopes to continue to boost the development of Taiwan-U.S. ties.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft is scheduled to travel to Taipei for a three-day visit this week. Wu and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen are set to meet with Craft during the visit, according to Wu. China has denounced the meeting, maintaining that only Chinese officials speak for Taiwan to international diplomats.

Although the Trump administration has vocally backed Taiwan, some figures in Taiwanese politics have expressed concerns the U.S. overtures are only meant to spite China rather than strengthen Taiwan.

“Let’s not become a bargaining chip in the game between the United States and mainland China,” opposition party chairman Johnny Chiang said Sunday, according to Reuters. Chiang added that the Washington's long-term commitment would become clear if the incoming Biden administration leaves the recent changes to U.S.-Taiwan relations in place.