China Urges Trump to 'Correct Mistake' of US-Taiwan Travel Act

Protester holds Taiwanese and US flags

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President thanked the US President for signing the Taiwan Travel Act, putting into law the encouragement of high-level visits between officials of the two countries.

The government of Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that the move would severely damage relations between Washington and Beijing.

The White House said the Bill, which is non-binding, would have gone into effect yesterday morning, even if Mr Trump had not signed it.

Lawmakers in Taiwan have said in the days since the U.S. Congress passed the act that it could be used as another card for the U.S.in its negotiations with China.

China considers Taiwan an integral part of its mainland and opposes any diplomatic relations as well as political contacts with Taipei by countries which have diplomatic relations with it.

The bill, introduced by Steve Chabot, a Republican representative of OH, had recently won approval from the House and Senate. The non-binding bill aims to increase travel and visits "at all levels", including senior government officials and business leaders, between the United States and Taiwan.

Taiwanese soldiers with mobile US-made TOW anti-tank missile launchers
The United States still does not have formal ties with Taiwan but is required by law to help it with self-defense

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang expressed firm opposition to the law in a statement on Saturday, saying it seriously violates the one-China principle.

The new legislation states that it will be USA policy to permit visits to Taiwan by "cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials" to meet Taiwanese counterparts. The bill sends out wrong signals to "pro-independence" separatist forces in Taiwan, Lu said.

"We urge the US side to correct its mistake, stop official exchanges between US and Taiwan officials and substantively raising relations, and prudently and appropriately handle the Taiwan issue to avoid causing serious harm to Sino-US ties and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region".

The United States does not have formal ties with Taiwan but is required by law to help it with self-defence and is the island's primary source of weapons.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry, however, has welcomed the new law, calling it a "friendly move" and vowing to deepen cooperation with the USA at all levels.

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