Sun, 28 May 2023

BEIJING, China: China's Foreign Ministry rebuked the U.S. for changing the wording about Taiwan on the State Department website, stressing "political manipulation" will not succeed in changing the status quo of the island.

The section on relations with Taiwan on the State Department website has removed wording on not supporting Taiwan independence and on acknowledging Beijing's position that Taiwan is part of China.

According to Washington, the update did not reflect a change in policy, though the Chinese government considers democratic Taiwan to be Chinese territory.

"There is only one China, Taiwan belongs to China and that the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole country," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters last week.

However, Taiwan rejects Beijing's claim to sovereignty, stressing that only the island's 23 million people can decide upon their future.

"This kind of political manipulation on the Taiwan question is an attempt to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, and will inevitably stir up a fire that only burns the U.S.," Zhao stressed.

Ned Price, U.S. State Department spokesperson, said that while some wording may have changed, "Our underlying policy has not changed."

In a press briefing, Price noted, "We regularly do updates on our fact sheets. Our fact sheets reflect, in the case of Taiwan, our rock-solid unofficial relationship with Taiwan, and we call upon the People's Republic of China to behave responsibly and to not manufacture pretenses to increase pressure on Taiwan."

In November, U.S. President Joe Biden, having caused a stir in October when he said the U.S. would come to the island's defense if China attacked, added that the U.S. was not encouraging independence for Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan will continue to strengthen its defense capabilities and cooperate with the U.S. and other friendly countries to promote peace, stability and prosperity, Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said.

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