China: Beijing condemns US officials' Taiwan visits

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin condemned the recent visits to Taiwan by senior US officials in Beijing on Monday. Wang said that the visits were «a political provocation to China, which emboldens Taiwanese independence forces and undermines China-US relations and stability across the strait.» «No force can ever stop the historical trend of the reunification of China. We urge the US side to correct its mistakes, abide by its promises in the 'Three Joint Communiques,' and stop any official ties with Taiwan and military exchange,» he stressed. In August Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-wen, while Under Secretary of State Keith Krach arrived for a two-day visit on Thursday. «China will take firm countermeasures against the US officials engaged into the above-mentioned acts,» emphasised Wang. Krach, who is the most senior official from the State Department to visit in four decades, travelled in order to attend a formal memorial service for Taiwan's former president, Lee Teng-Hui, who oversaw Taiwan's transition from military rule to one of democracy. The Chinese military held exercises near Taiwan, which Beijing claims sovereignty over, on Friday and Saturday, during Krach's visit. The Taiwanese Air Force scrambled fighter planes on Friday after 18 Chinese aircraft approached the island, crossing the midline of the Taiwan Strait and entering Taiwan's air defence identification zone.

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