China says US 'playing with fire' over Taiwan

BEIJING, China – The United States "is playing with fire" over Taiwan, Beijing said Thursday, after recent US moves related to the self-ruled island – including the transit of warships through the Taiwan Strait.

The United States diplomatically recognizes China over Taiwan, but Beijing has bristled at the close relations between Washington and the self-ruled democratic island.

"The US recently often played the Taiwan card, in a vain attempt to use Taiwan to contain China. This is purely wishful thinking," Chinese defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian said at a monthly press briefing.

China sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be reunified, despite the two sides having being ruled separately since the end of a civil war on the mainland in 1949.

Two US warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait last week in what the US Navy described as a routine transit in accordance with international law, triggering a protest from Beijing.

Other moves that angered China this month include US lawmakers approving legislation in support of Taiwan, and a reported meeting between Taiwan's national security chief David Lee and White House national security adviser John Bolton.

"The US is playing with fire with its series of moves, which are seriously jeopardizing the development of relations between the two countries and the two militaries, as well as seriously endangering peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," Wu said.

The friction over Taiwan comes on top of growing tensions in the trade war between the United States and China. – Rappler.com