China Warns U.S. of "Unbearable Price" for Supporting Taiwan

Chinese bomber overflight near Taiwan (file image courtesy state media)

Published Dec 30, 2021 9:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

Wang Yi, the foreign minister of China, warned Thursday that the United States will pay an "unbearable price" for supporting Taiwan. 

"The U.S. violated the promises made when China and the U.S. established diplomatic relations, condoned and encouraged 'Taiwan independence' forces, and tried to distort and hollow out the one-China principle," he said in an interview with state TV channel CCTV.  "This will not only bring Taiwan into an extremely dangerous situation, but also cause the US to face an unbearable price."

Officially, the U.S. does not challenge the core Chinese diplomatic tenet of "one China" - the idea that there is one government of the Chinese people, and that it is based in Beijing. However, the U.S. maintains unofficial contact with the Taiwanese government, and it regularly sells weapons (including surplus U.S. Navy tonnage) to Taiwan's military. By statute, the U.S. guarantees its support for Taiwan's security, even though it does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation. 

Last month, President Joe Biden accidentally referred to Taiwan as an "independent" state, contradicting official policy and angering China. He quickly backtracked and confirmed that the U.S. has not changed its official stance. The White House later invited Taiwan - but not China - to Biden's high-profile Summit for Democracy earlier this month, in a snub to Beijing. 

Roughly a dozen countries officially recognize Taiwan as a nation, and the number is shrinking. Last month, China peeled off the support of Nicaragua, which has ended diplomatic ties with Taiwan and opened diplomatic relations with Beijing. To emphasize its change of view, the Nicaraguan government has seized the former Taiwanese embassy building in Managua, saying that it plans to hand it over to China. 

"China has gained a new friend in the world. This fully proves that the one-China principle is a universally recognized principle and represents people's aspiration and the trend of the world," Wang Yi said.