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China: 'Interference' Not Tolerated    09/25 08:06

   

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- China underscored its commitment Saturday to its 
claim on Taiwan, telling assembled world leaders that anyone who gets in the 
way of its determination to reunify with the self-governing island would be 
"crushed by the wheels of history."

   The language was forceful but, for Chinese leadership, well within the realm 
of normal.

   "Only when China is fully reunified can there be true peace across the 
Taiwan Strait," Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, said at the U.N. General 
Assembly. He said Beijing would "take the most forceful steps to oppose 
external interference."

   China regularly and vehemently defends its claim to Taiwan, which separated 
from the mainland after a 1949 civil war and now functions with its own 
government. A visit last month by the speaker of the U.S. House of 
Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, markedly ratcheted up tensions between 
Washington and Beijing.

   The language, while pointed, reflected China's typical intensity about the 
island; its claim seldom goes unmentioned in major international speeches. 
Taiwan is a core issue of China policy, and Wang's appearance at the leaders' 
meeting -- instead of his boss, Chinese leader Xi Jinping -- was a signal that 
the speech was not necessarily a significant one.

   "The PRC government is the sole government representing all of China," Wang 
said, referring to China's formal name, the People's Republic of China. "The 
one-China principle has become a basic norm in international relations."

   He added: "Any move to obstruct China's reunification is bound to be crushed 
by the wheels of history."

   China exercises regular pressure worldwide on any entity -- country, 
corporation, mapmaker -- that even implies Taiwan might be a separate nation. 
At the Olympics, for example, Taiwan must compete as "Chinese Taipei." The 
mainland government's muscle has isolated the island's government, though a few 
U.N. members continue to have diplomatic relations with Taipei rather than 
Beijing.

   On Saturday at the U.N. meeting, just a few speakers before Wang, the prime 
minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, spoke forcefully 
about allowing Taiwan to raise its profile in international organizations, 
including the World Health Organization.

   "How can we stand askance, in relative silence and contented inaction, in 
disregard of Taiwan's legitimate right to exist in accord with the wishes and 
will of the Taiwanese people?" he asked.

   Wang's appearance at the 2022 in-person edition of the U.N. General Assembly 
came after two years of remote, pandemic-era speeches by China's top leader. Xi 
did not attend this year's event, which Russian President Vladimir Putin also 
skipped. U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday.

   The United States and China have an uneasy diplomacy and are at odds over 
many core issues. They have sparred for decades over human rights, most 
recently the mistreatment of ethnic Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of western 
China. Beijing views U.S. criticism as hypocritical and an act of interference 
in its internal affairs.

   This is always reflected in remarks from China's leadership. Wang's speech 
used lightly coded phrases and references that critiqued Washington without 
coming out and saying so. For example, Wang said, "We stand firmly against 
attempts to politicize human rights," and "We must uphold equity and oppose 
bullying" -- both references to longtime irritations it has with U.S. policy.

   While Taiwan and human rights perennially stand in the way of China-U.S. 
relations, Wang and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did meet in person 
on the General Assembly's sidelines Friday.

   U.S. officials said Blinken ramped up the Biden administration's efforts to 
press China to end provocative actions against Taiwan. China's Foreign 
Ministry, in a summary of the meeting, said Wang told his counterpart that "the 
current China-U.S. relations are facing grave impacts, and there are lessons 
that the U.S. side needs to learn from."

   It said the two discussed "the U.S. side's recent erroneous acts on the 
Taiwan question." However, it also said: "Both sides believe that the meeting 
was candid, constructive and important, and agreed to maintain communication."

   After the takeover of China by Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949, Chiang 
Kai-shek's Nationalists decamped to Taiwan and kept their separate government 
going. It was recognized by the United States until 1979, when Washington 
established relations with Beijing.

 
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