China hits back at US over Taiwan bill

China hits back at US over Taiwan bill

BEIJING- China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with a newly-passed US Senate bill that aims to promote closer ties between the US and self-governing Taiwan, which China sees as part of its territory.

The condemnation came on Thursday after the US Senate passed by unanimous consent the Taiwan Travel Act, which intends to encourage visits between the United States and Taiwan “at all levels.”

Approved in the House of Representatives in January, the bill ruled that it should be US policy for high-level Taiwanese officials to enter the US “under respectful conditions,” meet with US officials, and conduct business in the country.

“China is strongly dissatisfied with this and resolutely opposes it, and has already lodged stern representations with the US side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing in the capital Beijing.

Some of the new bill’s provisions are not legally binding and it “seriously violates” the One China principle, she added.

Washington should halt official exchanges with Taiwan and “prudently and appropriately handle issues related to Taiwan to avoid seriously interfering with and damaging China-US relations,” Hua said.

The legislation needs US President Donald Trump’s signature to become law. It would be unusual for a president to veto a measure that has passed unanimously.

China had earlier warned the US against passing the bill.

China and Taiwan split amid a civil war in 1949; however, Beijing’s leadership pursues their reunification. In 1979, the US adopted the “One China” policy of recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

The “One China” policy refers to the policy or the diplomatic acknowledgement that there is only one state called China, despite the existence of two governments — one in China and another on the island of Taiwan.

Under the policy, the United States recognizes and has formal ties with the government in Beijing rather than with Taiwan.