China warns United States 'not to play with fire' regarding Taiwan

Clay Curtis
July 14, 2019

Haiti has vowed to maintain ties with Taipei despite neighbouring Dominican Republic establishing relations with China previous year.

In a January 2 speech titled "Letter to our Taiwan compatriots", Chinese President Xi Jinping said that Taiwan must be "unified" with China, and refused to rule out the use of military force to annex the island.

Tsai was last in the United States in March, but her transit stops this time will be unusually long and analysts said the extended stopovers, in which she will spend four nights on USA soil, emphasized the Trump administration's support for her at a time when she has been under increasing pressure from Beijing.

Her entourage, protected by federal agents and NY police officers, arrived at the midtown Grand Hyatt to a raucous welcome by hundreds of pro-Taiwan demonstrators.

She is scheduled to make another two-night stop on her way home.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is spending two days in the United States this week ahead of a trip to visit diplomatic allies in the Caribbean.

The US decision has "harmed China's sovereignty and national security", the Chinese foreign ministry said, adding that sanctions against the supplying companies are necessary to safeguard its national interests.

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China's latest statement came as Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen was in NY en route to visit four Caribbean allies, a trip that has also incensed China. She said Friday that the people of Taiwan stand with the young people of Hong Kong who are fighting for democratic freedoms in ongoing protests.

"Our democracy has not come easily and is now facing threats and infiltration from overseas forces", Tsai said, without being specific. She was scheduled to deliver a speech to a U.S. -Taiwan business summit and attend a dinner with members of the Taiwanese-American community.

The State Department declined to comment and the USA firms involved in the Taiwan arms deal did not immediately respond. There is no official itinerary for her visit or indication of whether she will meet with United States officials.

The Taiwanese president has repeatedly warned of the threat from its giant neighbour and has vowed to defend Taiwan's security, democracy and way of life. Beijing has regularly sent military aircraft and ships to circle Taiwan on drills in the past few years.

In future, People's Daily said Washington should "exercise caution and prudence when handling Taiwan-related issues to avoid serious damage to China-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability".

Yet Washington remains its most powerful unofficial ally and biggest arms supplier, and has pressured Haiti to maintain its relationship with Taipei. "Trump has not engaged the gears, but there is a lot of activity at lower levels seeking to upgrade relations".

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