China’s top diplomat warns U.S. against Taiwan independence

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has warned U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan against Taiwan independence during their two-day meeting in Thailand through Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said.

Wang was quoted by the Chinese ministry as calling that issue the greatest challenge to relations between Beijing and Washington, apparently thereby urging the United States in his meeting with Sullivan not to interfere in issues concerning the island.

The White House said Sullivan “discussed cross-Strait issues” with Wang and he “underscored the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

China and the United States, meanwhile, agreed to hold their first governmental talks on artificial intelligence this spring, the ministry added.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi (L) is pictured with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan during their two-day talks held Jan. 26-27, 2024, in Bangkok. (Screenshot from the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website)(Kyodo)

The meeting continued the commitment by U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at their summit in November near San Francisco to “maintain strategic communication and responsibly manage the relationship,” the White House said.

It was the first time for U.S. and Chinese high-ranking officials to meet in-person since the presidential election was held in Taiwan earlier this month, in which Lai Ching-te of the ruling, independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won.

China has reacted harshly to the visit by a U.S. delegation to Taiwan shortly after the presidential race, as Beijing regards the self-ruled island as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Communist-led China and democratic Taiwan have been governed separately since they split in 1949 as the result of a civil war.

In 1979, when Washington switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the U.S. Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act.

Under the act, the United States maintains substantive though unofficial relations with Taiwan and supplies the island with arms and spare parts to enable it to secure sufficient self-defense capabilities.


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