Chinese official tells US ‘no room for compromise’ on Taiwan

China’s defence ministry again accused Washington of taking ‘provocative’ actions related to the island.

A man cycles past a Taiwan flag in Taipei [File: Ann Wang/Reuters]

China’s defence ministry says there is “no room for compromise” with the United States when it comes to Taiwan, the latest salvo in a war of words and posturing over the self-governing island which Beijing considers part of its own territory.

When asked about US-Chinese relations at a press conference on Thursday, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said both sides benefit from having a healthy and stable relationship.

“However, for a period of time, the US side has said a lot of irresponsible things and done a lot of provocative things on Taiwan, the South China Sea, and close up reconnaissance by warships and aircraft,” he added.

The comments come a day after the administration of President Joe Biden invited Taiwan to its upcoming virtual Summit for Democracy amid already heightened tensions over the island.

Taipei was the only government on the invitation list that Washington does not recognise as a sovereign state. Its inclusion was hailed by Taipei and condemned by Beijing.

The US maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity towards Taiwan, offering economic and military support and regularly hailing Taipei as a beacon of democracy.

On Thursday, Wu added that certain aspects of China’s sovereignty could be not violated.

“Especially on the Taiwan issue, China has no room for compromise, and the US side should not have any illusions about this,” he said.

Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to take control of Taiwan and has stepped up pressure on other countries to downgrade or sever ties with the island. It has also conducted an increasing number of military missions near the island in recent months.

After an early November virtual summit between Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, state media reported China’s leader had cautioned Biden that encouraging Taiwanese independence would be “playing with fire”.

Biden, meanwhile, told Xi the US “strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to the White House.

On Tuesday, the US Navy said its missile destroyer had sailed through the Taiwan Strait, the first such exercise following the Biden-Xi summit.

The periodic US manoeuvres typically infuriate Beijing.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian condemned the transit as a “deliberate attempt to disrupt and undermine regional peace and stability”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies