Accusing the US of sending “a gravely wrong signal” to those advocating for Taiwan’s independence in the wake of Saturday’s election result, China has expressed strong objections to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s message of congratulations to Taiwanese president-elect William Lai.
Following the election outcome, Beijing denounced the message, asserting that it violated Washington’s commitment to maintaining only unofficial ties with Taiwan. Lai, who has pledged to shield Taiwan from an increasingly assertive China, received congratulatory messages from leaders worldwide, including Blinken, emphasizing the democratic values shared between Taipei and Washington.
In his statement, Blinken expressed anticipation for collaboration with Dr. Lai and Taiwan’s leaders, emphasizing shared interests and values while underlining the commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the cross-strait relationship. However, he was swift to assert that such cooperation should align with the US One China policy, recognizing China and maintaining formal ties with it rather than recognizing Taiwan as a separate entity.
Beijing responded sharply to Blinken’s remarks, characterizing any expression of support for Taiwan as endorsing separatists seeking independence. China’s foreign ministry issued a statement asserting that Blinken’s congratulations violated the US promise to maintain only unofficial relations with Taiwan, stressing the Taiwan question as a “first red line” in China-US relations. Beijing lodged a formal diplomatic complaint, firmly opposing any official interaction between the US and Taiwan and any interference in Taiwan affairs.
This reaction from Beijing may serve as a warning to Washington, especially after the unofficial US delegation, appointed by President Joe Biden, engaged in talks with Taiwanese officials just hours after Lai’s election. Other Western nations, including the UK, France, and Germany, also congratulated the new leader, highlighting China’s disdain for Lai’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which Beijing views as pro-sovereignty and separatist, aiming for Taiwan’s independent sovereignty.