Tensions over Taiwan have increased since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August.
China has accused the United States of sending “very false, dangerous signals” regarding Taiwan, and has told Washington it has “no right to interfere” with whatever methods Beijing uses to “resolve” the Taiwan question could apply.
Taiwan was the focus of 90 minutes of “direct and candid” talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Friday, a US official told reporters.
“The minister made it absolutely clear that, in accordance with our long-standing one-China policy, which again has not changed, maintaining peace and stability across the Straits is absolutely and vitally important,” the senior US administration official said.
China’s foreign ministry said in a statement at the meeting that Washington is sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” to Taiwan and that the more rampant Taiwan’s independence aspirations are, the less likely a peaceful settlement is.
“The Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese matter, and the United States has no right to interfere in the method to be used to resolve it,” the ministry quoted Wang as saying.
Chinese state media said Wang’s meeting with Blinken addressed China’s position on the US’ “misconduct” towards Taiwan.
“We must clearly oppose and prevent ‘Taiwan independence’,” the Chinese news agency Global Times quoted Wang as saying to Blinken.
Tensions over Taiwan have skyrocketed since a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in August — followed by large-scale Chinese military exercises — and a recent pledge by US President Joe Biden to defend the democratically-ruled island.
Biden’s statement was his clearest yet about the use of US troops to defend the island.
Wang had a similar message for British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly during a meeting earlier this week, also on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Wang said the UK should “fulfill its one-China commitment and unequivocally oppose ‘Taiwan independence,'” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
The White House has insisted its Taiwan policy has not changed, but China said Biden’s comments sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan.
China considers Taiwan one of its provinces. Beijing has long vowed to take control of Taiwan and has not ruled out the use of force.
Taiwan’s government firmly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty, saying only the island’s 23 million residents can decide its future.
In a July call with Biden, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned about Taiwan, saying, “Those who play with fire will perish.”
The State Department had previously said that Blinken’s meeting with Wang on Friday was part of US efforts to “maintain open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition.”
Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat to Asia under President Barack Obama, said the fact that Blinken and Wang met was important after the turmoil Pelosis’ visit caused.
Russel said that hopefully some progress had been made in arranging a meeting between Xi and Biden on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in November, which would be their first face-to-face meeting as leaders.