U.S. envoy to U.N. to visit Taiwan next week, China says playing with fire

by Reuters
Friday, 8 January 2021 02:41 GMT

(Recasts, adds details, quotes)

TAIPEI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The United States' ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, will visit Taiwan from Jan. 13 to 15 for meetings with senior Taiwanese officials, the U.S. mission to the U.N. said on Thursday, prompting China to warn they were playing with fire.

Beijing, which claims the democratically run island as its own territory, has been angered by stepped-up support for Taiwan from the outgoing Trump administration, including trips to Taipei by senior U.S. officials.

Chinese fighter jets approached the island in August and September during the last two visits - U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach, respectively.

"During her trip, the Ambassador will reinforce the U.S. government's strong and ongoing support for Taiwan's international space in accord with the U.S. one-China policy that is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three U.S.-PRC joint communiques, and the Six Assurances to Taiwan," the U.S. mission said in a statement.

While the United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it is the island's strongest international backer and arms supplier, being obliged to help provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act.

China said it was firmly opposed to the visit.

"We wish to remind the United States that whoever plays with fire will burn himself. The United States will pay a heavy price for its wrong action," its U.N. mission said.

"China strongly urges the United States to stop its crazy provocation, stop creating new difficulties for China-U.S. relations and the two countries' cooperation in the United Nations, and stop going further on the wrong path." (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Lincoln Feast)

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