BEIJING (AP) — China’s government criticized U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday for urging the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan, the island democracy claimed by Beijing as part of its territory, to participate in a meeting this month.
Blinken’s statement Friday adds to a similar joint appeal by foreign ministers of the Group of Seven major economies this month in London. That irked the Communist Beijing government, which insists Taiwan has no right to conduct foreign relations or join global bodies.
Blinken’s appeal “seriously violates the ‘one-China principle’” and joint U.S.-Chinese declarations, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying. “China firmly deplores and rejects it.”
Taiwan split with the Chinese mainland in 1949 after a civil war. The two sides have extensive trade ties but no official relations.
The United States and other major governments have no official ties with Taiwan, but Washington and some others have expressed growing support for Taiwan during the coronavirus pandemic and in response to Beijing’s increasing assertiveness abroad.
Blinken called Taiwan a “force for good in the world” and said it should be invited as an observer at the meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO decision-making body. He said it could make “valuable contributions” as the world tries to end the pandemic.
Hua accused Washington of making the appeal “for political purposes.” She said it is “detrimental to future global response to public health crises.”
Hua said Taiwan is part of China’s “core interests,” a term Beijing uses to describe issues over which it might be willing to go to war.
“China has no room for compromise on this,” she said. “We advise individual countries to immediately stop hyping Taiwan-related issues.”