The war of words between China and Donald Trump flared again as China urged the US not to let a Taiwanese delegation attend his inauguration.
Trump previously broke decades of diplomatic protocol by speaking directly with Taiwan’s president after winning the US presidential election in November.
China said it opposed the Taiwan delegation’s attendance, which could “disturb or undermine Sino-US relations”.
“We once again urge relevant parties in the US to allow no delegation sent by the Taiwan authority to attend the inauguration ceremony of the president, and not to have any official contact with Taiwan,” said Hua Chunying, a foreign ministry spokeswoman. “This message has been delivered to the sitting US administration and the Trump transition team.”
China will send its ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, to the inauguration.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and has often used military threats to discourage a formal declaration of independence. Trump has infuriated China by suggesting the “one China” policy – a diplomatic status quo under which Beijing’s claims are not contested – could become a bargaining chip in future trade talks.
A group of Taiwanese security officials and lawmakers will be lead by Yu Shyi-kun, a former premier and party chairman, in attending Trump’s inauguration on 20 January.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said the delegation would “show the importance our government and people attached to the close and friendly relationship between our two countries”. A US delegation attended the inauguration of the Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, in 2015.
Taiwan typically sends a delegation to US presidential inaugurations but Trump’s forays into foreign policy have strained relations with China before he even enters the White House.
Tsai declared her country’s determination to “walk on the international stage” after two stopovers in the US that angered Beijing. China also called on the US to block those visits.
China has repeatedly warned Trumpagainst breaking the status quo over Taiwan, saying: “The ‘one China’ principle, which is the political foundation of the China-US relations, is non-negotiable.”
Trump has packed his White House team with China critics and has been frequently slammed over Taiwan and trade in Chinese state media since his election victory.
Just days before his inauguration one government-run Chinese newspaper warned that if provocation over Taiwan continued, China would be forced to “take off the gloves”.
In a show of force last week, China sailed its only aircraft carrier, accompanied by a fleet of warships, through the waters separating China and Taiwan.