China cuts ties with Taiwan after Trump’s recognition — and just in time for Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered security agencies to cut ties with Taiwan, saying the United States and any other countries should not have “illusions” when it comes to recognizing the island, a newspaper reported Monday.

Beijing’s position has been that Taiwan is a province of China and Chinese nationals who travel to the self-ruled island are in violation of the law. The island, which has peace relations with its giant neighbor, is self-ruled after Taiwan’s split from the mainland following a civil war in 1949.

The instruction was made at a top-level military meeting and marked Xi’s latest attempt to tighten control over the armed forces in the wake of recent battlefield losses. China has consistently denied formal ties with Taiwan since it was transferred to Taipei by the U.S. following the end of the civil war.

Asked about the report, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday that it did not “hide my face” in response to the state-owned China Daily’s assertion that the government “has closed the door” to U.S. recognition of Taiwan.

“They should not have illusions, nor are they the only ones,” the ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, said at a press briefing.

China did not approve of the U.S. acknowledging Taiwanese independence, and insists that the de facto state of Taiwan will remain in China’s sphere of influence after the current standoff with the U.S. over tariffs.

Taiwan won’t make an independence stance, but it does not oppose recognition of it by the U.S., no matter how tentative, its top diplomat in Washington said recently. The U.S. has never recognized Taiwan as part of China, even though the U.S. President Donald Trump has spoken several times by phone with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Taiwan officials would not comment on Monday on the report, citing “internal procedures.” But Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Grace Zhu, following the report, said that following a 2012 guideline set by China’s National People’s Congress, only a handful of Taiwanese have been granted U.S. political recognition.

Other nations have stopped acknowledging Taiwan diplomatically after becoming allies.

Since Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, she has steered close ties with mainland China and rejected China’s preferred position of asking other countries to endorse the Chinese-backed position of sovereign “one China.”

Taiwan has diplomatic ties with fewer than 30 countries, and China views them all as U.S. assets.

Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, in September told reporters that Taiwan sees some countries changing their policies to recognize Taipei after a visit by Tsai, though he wouldn’t name names. Taiwan officials often visit the U.S. to promote bilateral trade and investment.

The China Daily cited a source familiar with the meeting held in Xi’s office as saying that the armed forces have been instructed to conduct massive propaganda campaigns around any new countries recognizing Taiwan, including Thailand, Colombia and the United States.

“This is all part of China’s resolute response to the U.S. decision not to recognize the Chinese version of Taiwan as part of China’s territory,” the newspaper cited the source as saying.

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