US, Chinese foreign ministers meet as Taiwan tensions rise

In a phone call with Biden in July, China’s leader Xi Jinping warned about Taiwan, saying “those who play with fire will perish by it”.

After Pelosi’s solidarity visit to Taipei early last month, China deployed scores of planes and fired live missiles near the island.

In a speech to the Asia Society think tank in New York on Thursday, Wang said the Taiwan question was growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations.

“Should it be mishandled, it is most likely to devastate our bilateral ties,” Wang said, according to a transcript from China’s Embassy in Washington.

Likewise, the decades old US law outlining Washington’s unofficial relations with Taiwan – which Beijing considers null – makes clear that Washington’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1979 “rests upon the expectation that the future of Taiwan will be determined by peaceful means.”

China sees democratically governed Taiwan as one of its provinces. Beijing has long-vowed to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so.

Taiwan’s government strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

Earlier in the week, Wang met with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the architect of US relations with communist China, and said a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan was China’s aspiration.

However, he said the possibility of a peaceful resolution was diminished by ever more “rampant” Taiwanese independence sentiment and he invoked a Chinese proverb: “It is better to lose a thousand soldiers than an inch of territory”.