• REUTERS

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Taiwan is a “wanderer” that will eventually come home and not a chess piece to be played with, the Chinese government’s top diplomat said Monday, reaffirming Beijing’s determination to bring the island under its control.

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, and has in the past two years stepped up military and diplomatic pressure to assert its sovereignty claims, to anger in Taipei and deep concern in Washington.

Speaking in Beijing, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the cause of current tensions was the Taiwan government’s attempts to “rely on the United States for independence” and the United States and other countries trying to “use Taiwan to control China.”

“It is these perverse actions that have changed the status quo and undermined the peace in the Taiwan Strait, violating the consensus of the international community and the basic norms of international relations,” said Wang, a former head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.

To respond to this, China had taken “forceful countermeasures” to “shock the arrogance” of those who seek Taiwan’s formal independence, he said.

“Taiwan is a wanderer who will eventually come home, not a chess piece to be used by others. China must and will be reunified.”

China has been particularly angered by support for Taiwan from the United States, the island’s most important international backer and arms supplier despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties.

Taiwan’s government has repeatedly denounced China’s pressure, saying only Taiwan’s people have the right to decide their future and that they will not give in to threats.

The defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with the communists, who established the People’s Republic of China.

Wang also said that China would not fear confrontation with the United States but would welcome cooperation if it is mutually beneficial.

Problems in the U.S.-China relationship were down to “strategic misjudgments” by the American side, he said in a speech, posted on Foreign Ministry website.

“If there is confrontation, then (China) will not fear it, and will fight to the finish,” he said.

Wang said “there is no harm” in competition but it should be “positive.”

Relations between the United States and China are at a low over a range of disagreements including the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade, human rights, and Beijing’s increasing pressure on Taiwan.

In a call last month that lasted for more than three hours, U.S. President Joe Biden pressed his counterpart, Xi Jinping, on human rights while Xi warned that China would respond to what it called provocation on Taiwan.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday to ban imports from China’s Xinjiang region over concern about forced labor, the latest U.S. response to Beijing’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority there.

China rejects accusations of rights abuses in Xinjiang.

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