China says US should respect concerns on Taiwan

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (L) meeting with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (R) at the Great Hall of the People. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING, CHINA: The United States must respect China’s concerns on Taiwan to avoid causing disturbances in Sino-US ties, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Saturday.

China considers democratic Taiwan to be a wayward province
and has never renounced the use of force to bring the island
under its control.

Wang explained China’s position on the Taiwan issue and
“demanded the US side earnestly respect China’s concerns,
appropriately handle the relevant issue and avoid bringing
disturbances to China-US relations”, China’s Foreign Ministry
said.

It did not elaborate. Beijing’s relationship with Taiwan has been frosty since President Tsai Ing-wen won election on the island by a landslide last year.

China suspects that Tsai, who leads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, wants to declare the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing. Tsai says she wants to maintain peace with China.

In recent months the Chinese air force has conducted a series of drills around Taiwan, which have included bombers and advanced fighter jets, alarming Taipei. China has called the exercises routine and pledged to continue with them.

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