Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has compared Taiwan’s pursuit of independence to a runaway rhinoceros that must be stopped, accusing Washington of hunting it down.
Speaking in New York on Thursday, Wang said legislation that US lawmakers are considering related to Taiwan threatens the foundations of US-China ties. Encouraged by the US, the Chinese government says there are increasing voices for Taiwan’s independence, Wang said. But according to Beijing, Taiwan belongs to China. The minister added that ties between the US and China are at “low point”.
“Taiwan’s independence is like a devastating rhinoceros coming at us that must be resolutely stopped,” Wang said in a speech to the Asia Society in New York, where he attended the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. “We have always worked with the greatest sincerity and effort to pursue peaceful reunification, but we will never tolerate any activity aimed at secession.”
Relations between Beijing and Washington have deteriorated further since the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August. That prompted the Chinese military’s largest exercises around Taiwan in decades. China has also halted climate talks and military talks with the US. Still, there is a possibility that the leaders of the world’s two largest economies will meet in November on the sidelines of summits in Asia.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden said in an interview that US troops would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, despite official US policy. Beijing called it “serious violations” of US commitments not to support Taiwan’s independence.