China hits back after Blinken congratulates new Taiwanese president: "Taiwan is not a country"

Beijing, China - Chinese officials hit back in a series of strong condemnations after Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Taiwan's new president on behalf of the US.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin issued a stern warning after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the new Taiwanese president on his inauguration.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin issued a stern warning after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the new Taiwanese president on his inauguration.  © Collage: IMAGO/Kyodo News/Ukrinform

Blinken's congratulations to newly inaugurated Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te came on Sunday, set against the backdrop of US sanctions against Chinese EVs and technology and ongoing tensions in the South China Sea.

"The United States congratulates Dr. Lai Ching-te on his inauguration as Taiwan’s fifth democratically elected president," Antony Blinken said in a statement released by the State Department. "We also congratulate the Taiwan people for once again demonstrating the strength of their robust and resilient democratic system."

Beijing had previously described President Ching-te as a "dangerous separatist," and has repeatedly said that Washington's support of Taipei "violates the One China principle."

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin hit back against the US in his daily statement to the press on May 20, telling CCTV (China's national television broadcaster) that "Taiwan is an inalienable part of China."

"They are trying to reopen the closed case that Taiwan is part of China," Wenbin told reporters. "This move that turns back the wheel of history is a challenge to not only China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but also international justice and conscience and the post-WWII international order. This is extremely preposterous and dangerous."

Chinese-US relations were seen to be at a high point last month, when Antony Blinken held meetings in Beijing with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and even President Xi Jinping.

The renaissance was short-lived, however, as last week saw President Xi meet with Putin, strengthening ties between China and Russia. China also followed US tariffs on EVs and bans on Uyghur-linked textile companies with their own sanctions over arms sales to Taiwan.

China rebukes Taiwan statehood: "Taiwan is not a country"

Taiwan's new President Dr. Lai Ching-te was inaugurated on Monday.
Taiwan's new President Dr. Lai Ching-te was inaugurated on Monday.  © IMAGO/Kyodo News

Wenbin was clear-cut in his teardown of Taiwanese democracy and statehood, starting off his statement by saying, "Taiwan is not a country. It has been an inalienable part of China’s territory since ancient times."

"China will and must achieve reunification. No one or force can hold it back," he continued.

"Our message to some in the US: The trend of the world is surging forward. Those who follow the trend will prosper; those who go against it will perish. Those who challenge the one-China principle will be swept away by the trend of the times; those who turn back the wheel of history will be run over by it."

Chinese views on the Taiwan issue contrast steeply with the US government under President Joe Biden, who in the State Department's statement said that the Taiwanese people "were rooted in democratic values."

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO/Kyodo News/Ukrinform

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