China on Thursday expressed its objections to talks between the United States and Taiwan, according to a Thursday statement from the People’s Liberation Army.
In a news release, a Ministry of National Defense spokesperson said the discussions break the United States’ longstanding one-China policy.
“The US move has seriously violated the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, said the spokesperson, noting that China had lodged solemn representations to the United States,” the press release reads, referring to Senior Col. Tan Kefei.
“Stressing that Taiwan question is China’s internal affair and concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests, the spokesperson said that Taiwan question allows no external interference,” it continues. “The spokesperson urged the US side to stop any form of official exchange and military contact with Taiwan.”
The U.S. State Department and Taiwan were slated to conduct virtual discussions on Wednesday, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. China vowed to reply to the talks, Reuters reported.
The discussions come amid a strained relationship between the U.S. and China in recent years as the Trump administration has adopted increasingly critical rhetoric of Beijing and this year grappled with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump called Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that disrupted years of U.S. policy toward Taipei.
In November, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michael Studeman, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s intelligence directorate, reportedly made an undisclosed trip to Taiwan. China at the time vowed to issue a response to the visit. USNI News reported then that active-duty officers at the two-star level had previously visited Taiwan.
“[I]t’s my understanding that active-duty, two-star officers have traveled to Taiwan before. So there is a precedent. However, the goal on both sides has been to keep these military-to-military exchanges discrete so they can continue on a regularized basis,” Eric Sayers, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said at the time.
“It is unfortunate this one leaked out. Visits of this type are consistent with long-standing U.S. policy and are critical to ensuring our two militaries remain closely aligned to deter Chinese coercion,” he added.