China Threatens US Over Diplomat's Taiwan Visit

Krach is highest-level State Department official to visit island in decades
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2020 12:02 AM CDT
China Threatens US Over Diplomat's Taiwan Visit
US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, right, meets James K.J. Lee, director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, for lunch at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A senior US State Department official is arriving in Taiwan on Thursday for a three-day visit, prompting a threat of possible retaliation from China. US Undersecretary of State Keith Krach is to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other senior officials, the island's foreign ministry said Thursday. Krach, who holds the portfolio for economic growth, energy, and the environment, is the highest-level official from the State Department to visit the island in decades. His visit follows a high-profile visit in August by US Health Secretary Alex Azar, who was the highest-level US Cabinet official to visit since the break in formal ties between the US and Taiwan in 1979, when the US switched relations to Beijing, the AP reports.

Ahead of Krach's arrival, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, had lunch Wednesday with Taiwan’s top official in New York, a meeting she called historic and a further step in the Trump administration’s campaign to strengthen relations with the self-governing island that China claims is part of its territory. China condemned the visit on Thursday and warned it could retaliate. It opposes all official interactions between other countries and the island. At a daily briefing Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Krach’s visit "bolsters the separatist forces of Taiwan independence and undermines China-US relations," adding that "China will make necessary responses in accordance with the development of the situation." (Read more Taiwan stories.)

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