China warns United States Secretary of State

China warns United States Secretary of State

BEIJING - China says the United States must respect Beijing’s concerns on Taiwan to avoid creating disturbances in bilateral relations.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks in a meeting with his visiting US counterpart Rex Tillerson at the Great Hall of the People in the capital Beijing on Saturday, demanding that “the US side earnestly respect China’s concerns, appropriately handle the relevant issue and avoid bringing disturbances to China-US relations.”

Tillerson is in China to meet China's top diplomats and President Xi Jinping in order to make preparations for a visit by US President Donald Trump to Beijing in November.

China sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, with the leaders in Beijing saying that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island of Taiwan from mainland China, will eventually unify. China and Taiwan split amid a civil war in 1949. Beijing has mounted pressure on Taiwan since the election last year of President Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party advocates Taiwan’s formal independence.

Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging the “One China” policy of recognizing Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. However, the US maintains military ties with the self-ruled island. And Taiwan has been pushing for the purchase of more American advanced military hardware in a bid to deal with the rapidly modernizing military of China, which regards Taiwan as a province of the mainland.

Taiwanese presidents and other senior officials often make stopovers in the US on their way to the island’s diminishing number of allies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Taiwan currently maintains diplomatic ties with only 20 countries across the globe.

During the past few months, the Chinese air force has carried out a number of military exercises, which included bombers and advanced warplanes, alarming Taipei, calling the drills routine and pledging to continue with them