BEIJING (AP) – China’s foreign minister warned the Biden administration on Sunday to reverse former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan, the island democracy that Beijing claims as its own territory.
The claim to Taiwan, which separated from the mainland in 1949, is an “insurmountable red line,” Wang Yi said at a press conference during the annual Chinese ceremonial legislature meeting.
The United States does not have official relations with Taiwan, but rather extensive informal relations. Trump angered Beijing by sending cabinet officials to Taiwan to show his support.
“The Chinese government has no room for compromise,” said Wang.
“We urge the new US administration to fully understand the high sensitivity of the Taiwan problem” and “to completely change the dangerous practices of the previous administration of crossing the border and playing with fire,” he said.
President Joe Biden says he wants a more civic relationship with Beijing but has shown no evidence that Trump’s confrontational measures on trade, technology and human rights are being mitigated. Polls show that the American public’s attitude towards China, which is viewed as an economic and strategic competitor, is becoming more negative.
Wang gave no indication of how Beijing might react if Biden does not change course, but the ruling Communist Party has threatened an invasion if Taiwan declares formal independence or delays unification talks with the mainland.
Wang’s comments in a comprehensive two-hour press conference reflected Beijing’s increasing assertiveness abroad and its rejection of criticism of Hong Kong, the northwest region of Xinjiang and other sensitive issues.
Wang defended the proposed changes in Hong Kong that will tighten control of Beijing by reducing the public’s role in government. He rejected complaints that undermine the autonomy promised the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.
The changes announced on Friday follow the arrest of 47 pro-democracy people in Hong Kong under a national security law passed last year after months of protests against the government.
Beijing must protect Hong Kong’s “transition from chaos to governance,” Wang said.
The proposal would give a pro-Beijing committee a greater role in selecting Hong Kong lawmakers. This would be a significant restriction on Western-style democracy and civil liberties in Hong Kong. Officials on the mainland say they want to make sure the territory is controlled by people who are considered patriots.
“Nobody cares more about the development of democracy in Hong Kong than the central government,” said Wang. He said the changes would protect the “rights of Hong Kong residents and the legitimate interests of foreign investors.”
Also on Sunday, Wang turned down complaints. Beijing’s treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang is genocide.
Human rights researchers say more than 1 million people, including many members of the Uyghur minority, have been sent to detention centers. Chinese officials say they are trying to prevent extremism.
“The so-called existence of the genocide in Xinjiang is absurd. It’s an entire lie made up with ulterior motives, ”said Wang. He accused the “anti-China forces” of “undermining the security and stability of Xinjiang and hindering China’s development and growth.”