In response to comments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recognizing the reality that “Taiwan has not been a part of China” for decades, the Chinese government responded by promising a “resolute attack” against “any behaviour that undermines China’s core interests and interferes with China’s domestic affairs.”
In a radio interview Thursday, Pompeo explained why the administration’s position is that “Taiwan has not been a part of China,” saying, “That was recognized with the work that the Reagan administration did to lay out the policies that the United States has adhered to now for three-and-a-half decades.”
Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou thanked Pompeo for his support, noting, “The Republic of China on Taiwan is a sovereign, independent country, and not part of the People’s Republic of China. This is a fact and the current situation.”
The communist Chinese government, meanwhile, was not amused.
The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is an objective fact & basic norm governing international relations. pic.twitter.com/43VlTZkgee
— Spokesperson发言人办公室 (@MFA_China) November 13, 2020
According to a report from Reuters, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin responded furiously, “We solemnly tell Pompeo and his ilk, that any behaviour that undermines China’s core interests and interferes with China’s domestic affairs will be met with a resolute counterattack by China.”
He did not elaborate on what that “resolute counterattack” might entail.
The United States’ relationship with Taiwan has been an ongoing source of angst to the Chinese government, which insists that Taiwan is a rebel province and repeatedly threatens retaliation against countries that recognize Taiwan’s independence.
The United States has at least arguably a legal obligation to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack on the island by mainland China. Additionally, the Trump administration has taken a series of incremental steps to increasingly recognize Taiwan’s independence, including encouraging arms sales to Taiwan and inviting representatives from Taiwan to participate in economic talks with the United States as an independent country.
These moves have also rankled the Chinese government, which has placed sanctions on United States companies that have sold to Taiwan.