BEIJING – China registered a strong protest on Monday after the national security chiefs of Taiwan and the United States met for the first time since the ending of official diplomatic ties between the two sides in 1979, and demanded that Washington stop any official contact with Taipei.
The US National Security Advisor John Bolton met Taiwan’s National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee on Saturday during the latter’s visit to the US, the Taiwanese foreign ministry said in a statement.
The statement said that Lee discussed common security challenges with academics and US government representatives and reiterated his support for a “free and open Indo-Pacific region.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang on Monday criticized the meeting and said Lee could not be called Bolton’s “counterpart,” as Washington officially recognizes Beijing, not Taipei.
“We firmly oppose any form of official contact between the US and Taiwan. We also oppose any attempt to make one China and one Taiwan (separately),” Lu said in his daily press briefing.
“We again urge the US Government to abide by the One-China principle, (...) stop any official contact and exchange between the two sides so as to avoid any influences on our bilateral ties and across-the-board important cooperation,” he added.
In recent years, Washington has passed a number of laws favoring Taiwan – which has been at loggerheads with Beijing since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen assumed office – allowing itself to increase official contacts with Taipei, facilitate arms sales and intensify military contacts in addition to other cooperation.
The repeated passage of US vessels through the South China Sea has also signaled growing American military activity in the area, which Taiwanese experts have interpreted as a reaction to the increasing military presence of Beijing in the region.
In 2018, the US for the first time declared its opposition to Taiwan’s remaining diplomatic allies breaking ties with the island and even warned of retaliation.