China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang has told a forum in Shanghai that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China and that Beijing must uphold that claimed sovereignty.
Qin made the remarks on Friday at the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, where he discussed a wide range of topics from Ukraine to self-ruled Taiwan, where Beijing this month staged three days of war games after the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen met with the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, in California.
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“Recently, there has been absurd rhetoric accusing China of upending the status quo, disrupting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” Qin said. “The logic is absurd and the conclusion dangerous.”
He added that “fair-minded people can see who is engaged in hegemonic bullying and high-minded practices”.
Beijing accuses Tsai, who was first elected in 2016 and returned in a landslide four years later, of being a “separatist” and has sought to isolate the territory on the international stage.
But the island’s president says it is up to the people of Taiwan to decide their future.
Beijing reiterated in a white paper last August that it was prepared to use force to take control of the island.
“It is not the Chinese mainland but the Taiwan independence separatist forces and a handful of countries attempting to disrupt the status quo,” Qin said.
“Those who play with fire on Taiwan will eventually get themselves burned.”