China demands halt to provocative US moves in South China Sea
China has called on the US to stop its provocative moves in the South China Sea region, demanding that Washington respect Beijing’s peaceful dialogue with the Philippines concerning regional issues.
This comes after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed concern over the presence of Chinese fishing vessels in the South China Sea territory of Niu’e Jiao.
Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Island and the reef and waters around it have always been a key fishing ground and shelter for Chinese fishermen, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.
“Any US attempts to use the illegal and invalid ruling from the South China Sea Arbitration Tribunal to deny China’s legitimate rights in the South China Sea will not succeed,” Beijing-based CGTN news network quoted him as saying.
The Chinese official also said the situation in the region is generally stable and that Beijing has maintained close communication with the Philippines on the South China Sea issue.
A spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte also said last Tuesday that he remains committed to peacefully resolving the South China Sea issue with China.
US ‘guidelines’ for deepening Chinese Taipei ties
The US State Department issued new guidelines Friday to enable American officials to meet more freely with their Taiwanese counterparts and further expand ties with the island territory claimed by China.
“These new guidelines liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations,” State Department spokesman Ned Price declared in a statement, adding that the objective was “to encourage US government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship.”
Price said the new scheme had followed a congressionally mandated review and would “provide clarity throughout the Executive Branch on effective implementation of our ‘one China’ policy” — a reference to Washington’s long-standing policy under which it officially recognizes Beijing rather than Taipei.
Another State Department spokesman said the new guidelines meant that working-level meetings with Taiwanese officials were now reinvigorated in federal buildings and could further be implemented at Chinese Taipei’s representative office.
“Those meetings were prohibited under previous guidance,” he said.
Chinese Taipei (Taiwan)’s representative office in Washington welcomed the move, saying it “substantively” reflected deepening ties between the two sides.
The announcement by the State Department came amid rising tensions with China over Chinese Taipei.
The White House said Friday that it was keeping a close watch on growing Chinese military activities in the Taiwan Strait, describing Beijing’s recent moves as potentially destabilizing.
The announcement came a day after China condemned the passage of a US destroyer through the Taiwan Strait, warning that the move could endanger peace and stability in the strategic region.
Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman for the Eastern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), further emphasized that China had tracked and monitored the guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain during its passage through the waterway.
Zhang said the US move sent the “wrong signal” to Chinese Taipei’s government and “willfully disrupted the regional situation by endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Ties between the US and China have hit the lowest in decades as the two sides are at loggerheads over a host of issues, including trade, a new security law introduced in Hong Kong, the origins and handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese Taipei, and the disputed South China Sea.