China on Wednesday sharply criticized a visit to Taiwan by a senior Pentagon official and reaffirmed it has sanctioned Lockheed Martin and a unit of Raytheon for supplying military equipment to the self-governing island democracy.
The comments from the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office underscore the dramatic deterioration in relations between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, technology, spying allegations, and, increasingly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Asked about the reported visit by Michael Chase, deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, office spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said China “resolutely opposes any official interaction and military collaboration” between the U.S. and Taiwan.
Efforts by Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party to cement the island's independence with foreign assistance are “doomed to failure," Zhu told reporters.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary, and has been stepping up its military and diplomatic harassment. The sides split amid civil war in 1949, and China's authoritarian Communist Party has never held sway over the island.
A Pentagon spokesperson did not comment directly on Chase's visit, repeating that “our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.” Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said it had no information about any such visit.
Tensions between the U.S. and China again ratcheted up last month after Washington accused Beijing of sending a spy balloon that was shot down over the American East Coast. Secretary of State Antony Blinken canceled a trip to Beijing in the wake of the incident and said over the weekend that the United States was concerned China would provide weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine.