China warns US ‘not to play with fire’ regarding Taiwan

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, shakes hands with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto during their meeting in the latter’s office in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, July 12, 2019. (Lajos Soos/MTI via AP)

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BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The United States should not “play with fire” regarding Taiwan after Washington announced its intention to sell $2.2 billion in weapons to the island state, China’s foreign minister said Friday.

Wang Yi also said during a visit to Hungary that his country is concerned about Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s stops in the U.S. before and after state visits to the Caribbean.

Taiwan doesn’t have diplomatic ties with the U.S., though Washington provides Taiwan, which split from China in a 1949 civil war, with military and other support. China objects to such support as interference in what it considers its internal affairs and is seeking to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control.

“If the U.S. side wants to create new troubles in U.S.-China relations, ultimately their actions will backfire,” Wang said. “We urge the United States to fully recognize the gravity of the Taiwan question” and “honor its promise of adhering to the one-China principle.”

On Sunday, the U.S. State Department announced the proposed arms sale to Taiwan, including 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

Regarding his visit to Hungary, Wang and his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Szijjarto, emphasized growing business and trade relations between the two countries, including a Chinese loan to renovate the railway link between Budapest and Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. The project has drawn scrutiny because of its large cost and disputed economic benefits.

Szijjarto also said that talks were underway for a pair of “huge” Chinese banks, which he did not identify, to open offices in Hungary.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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