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China bristles at US senators visiting Taiwan

The Chinese foreign ministry on Monday said it had lodged “solemn representations” with the US after three American senators visited China-claimed Taiwan on Sunday.

China’s reaction came after three US senators Tammy Duckworth, Dan Sullivan and Christopher Coons visited the self-ruled island for a short visit.

During the visit, Senator Duckworth said that the US will donate 750,000 Covid-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan as part of the country’s plan to share shots globally, offering to boost the island’s fight against a recent surge in cases.

In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin lashed out at the visit, saying it violated the one-China policy.

Wang said “solemn representations” had been launched with the US authorities on the visit.

Wang added that the visit violated the one-China policy and the provisions of three Sino-US joint communiques.

“China firmly opposes this and has lodged solemn representations with the US,” Wang said, adding that Beijing has urged Washington to stop any form of official exchanges with Taiwan.

In Taiwan, Duckworth was quoted by Reuters news agency, as saying: “It was critical to the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines because we recognise your urgent need and we value this partnership”.

Taiwan has complained about China, which claims the democratically-ruled island as its own, trying to block the island from accessing vaccines internationally, which Beijing has denied.

Beijing has over the years warned countries including India against establishing official ties with Taipei – and instead supports the “one China policy” – and has never ruled out reuniting Taiwan using military power.

Only 15 countries officially recognise Taiwan, and do not have diplomatic ties with Beijing.

President Tsai Ing-wen has maintained that Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China – which is its formal name – and that she will defend its freedom and security.

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