China’s Yang Jiechi warns US security adviser Jake Sullivan about Washington’s Taiwan moves

China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, warned US national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday that the United States was “on the wrong path” regarding Taiwan and that its moves could lead to “dangerous situations”.

“The US has been adopting wrongful narratives and actions that interfere with China’s domestic politics and are harmful to China’s interests. China has been making stern and powerful responses. The US must do what it says for China-US relations to return to a healthy and stable track of development,” Yang told Sullivan in a phone conversation, according to a statement published by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“The recent actions taken by the US on Taiwan-related matters have been a huge contrast from their pronouncements. If the US continues to play the Taiwan card and head further on the wrong path, this will certainly lead to dangerous situations,” Yang said.

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“China will be steadfast to take actions that defend its sovereignty and security interests. We will do as we said,” Yang added.

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi speaks with US officials during talks in Anchorage, Alaska, in March 2021. Photo: Xinhua

A statement by the White House said: “This phone call, which followed their March 14 meeting in Rome, focused on regional security issues and non-proliferation.”

The conversation was initiated by the United States, China said.

According to both statements, Sullivan and Yang also talked about the Russian war in Ukraine. Beijing added that matters related to North Korea were discussed, while Washington said “specific issues in US-China relations” were also covered.

The two men met in person in mid-March, a few days before a video call between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden, who warned China of “consequences” if it helped Russia evade Western sanctions after the invasion of Ukraine.

Beijing has recently stepped up its criticism of the United States’ moves on Taiwan, a self-ruled island over which China claims sovereignty.

Biden to launch Indo-Pacific Economic plan during Asia trip to Japan, South Korea

Also on Wednesday, the US State Department issued a statement in support of Taiwan joining the World Health Organization as an observer, after Biden’s signing of a related bill last Friday.

“We will continue to support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations where statehood is not a requirement and encourage Taiwan’s meaningful participation in organizations where its membership is not possible, in line with our one-China policy,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Taiwan has been excluded from most global organisations because of objections from Beijing.

A bipartisan group of 52 US senators signed a letter to Biden on Wednesday urging Taiwan’s inclusion in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an economic initiative the administration will introduce next week. It is part of the US’ effort to counter what it says is Beijing’s increasing economic and military coercion in the region.

“For IPEF to be a useful vehicle to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific ... we must make sure that all of America’s regional allies and partners are included,” the letter said.

“The more economic engagement the United States and allies and partners have with Taiwan, the stronger our collective resilience against coercion,” the senators wrote.

Taiwan has expressed interest in joining the IPEF.

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