Chinese official tells US media that raising issue of self-ruled island’s independence ahead of summit is ‘making a mistake’
The Chinese foreign ministry has said that the idea of inviting Taiwan to attend an international summit in China later this month is a “mistake”, saying the meeting is aimed at promoting “secessionist” Taiwanese independence.
The remarks by the ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, appeared to be a personal attack on the US vice-president, Joe Biden, who told local media on Tuesday he would be disappointed if the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, did not attend the two-day conference.
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“China definitely does not accept it. It’s a mistake to raise this issue now. It’s a fundamental matter of fact about the course of the Taiwan issue,” Geng said.
He added that the fact that the Dalai Lama, a Chinese-language media personality in exile from Tibet, would also be at the event “confirms that the summit is aimed at promoting Taiwan independence”.
Biden’s comments suggest he is preparing to use the meeting in Beijing in the coming days to raise concerns over the status of the self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as its own, even though Beijing considers Taipei to be a wayward province with no right to state-to-state relations.
“It won’t have much positive impact,” Geng said of the meeting.
China’s formal position is that Taiwan is part of “one China” and it has no intention of changing that stance. But in recent years it has done more to encourage relations with the island, which itself has been governed separately since 1949, after losing a civil war to China’s communists.
China urged Tsai to “adhere to the one China principle” and not attend the event, which it described as an attempt to split Taiwan from the rest of China, Xinhua news agency reported.