China issues stark warning to US ‘not to play with fire’ over Taiwan as tensions erupt

China undergoing 'rapid expansion' of military says expert

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Last week, the US State Department decided to deepen its relations with Taiwan despite China’s claims over the island nation. During a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian responded to questions about America’s updated guidelines with Taiwan which encourages cooperation between the two nations.

Mr Zhao warned the US “not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue”.

He continued: “Immediately stop any form of US-Taiwan official contacts, cautiously and appropriately handle the matter, and not send wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces so as not to subversively influence and damage Sino-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Washington’s new guidelines enable US officials to meet with counterparts from Taiwan more freely.

China has claimed sovereignty over the whole of Taiwan, a democracy of around 24 million people.

The two nations have been governed separately for over seven decades.

However, Beijing claims ownership of the independent island under its ‘One China’ policy which demands there is only one sovereign state under the name China.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was concerned about China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan.

Mr Blinken told Reuters that Beijing had warned the US not to go against China’s determination to protect its sovereignty.

He added that the Asian superpower told Washington not to “stand on the opposite side of 1.4 billion Chinese people”.

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The words of warning come as Beijing continues to ramp up its military aggression near the independent island.

On Tuesday, Taiwan reported more intrusions by Chinese jets into its air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

According to the island nation, four Chinese J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine warfare aircraft had made the intrusion.

It came after reports on Monday from Taiwan said that 25 Chinese air force aircraft had entered its ADIZ – the largest incursion to date.

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