TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Chinese officials cautioned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the actions of Taiwan’s “pro-independence” vice president, Lai Ching-te, potentially escalating tensions between Beijing and Taipei, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
The conversation purportedly occurred during Blinken’s visit to China last week, where he held discussions with President Xi Jinping.
People briefed on the matter told the WSJ that Blinken was questioned about the US stance toward Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and whether Washington had a vested interest in the outcome of the upcoming presidential election scheduled for January on the island.
Blinken allegedly emphasized that the US would maintain impartiality in the election and that Washington did not support external interference in the voting process.
Beijing, which considers self-governed Taiwan as its sovereign territory, has repeatedly accused the US of supporting “secessionist” politicians in Taipei. While the US has refrained from establishing formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, American politicians have engaged in meetings with local officials. Beijing views such contacts, along with the sale of US weapons to Taiwan, as a violation of the ‘One China’ principle.
Following the visits of then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August 2022 and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s trip to the US in March 2023, Beijing conducted large-scale impromptu military exercises near the island.
Lai, currently leading in the polls for the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election, has previously described himself as “a pragmatic political worker for Taiwanese independence.” However, he later clarified that he would not seek to alter Taiwan’s present political status.
“I would like to reiterate that Taiwan is already an independent and sovereign nation and thus we do not have a need to further declare Taiwan independence,” Lai stated in January, as reported by Focus Taiwan.
Blinken visited China on June 18-19, with both sides expressing cautious optimism about the outcome of the discussions. However, Beijing strongly condemned President Joe Biden’s remarks shortly after Blinken’s return home, in which he labeled Xi as a “dictator.”