Trump Signs Taiwan Travel Act, Earns Rap from Beijing

Trump approves official travel to Taiwan

China's Foreign Ministry on Saturday expressed its "resolute opposition" after US President Donald Trump signed legislation that encourages the United States to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.

The White House said the bill will pave the way for more official exchanges with Taipei.

It has urged the U.S. to abide by the country's "One China" policy and cease official exchanges with Taiwan.

"China is strongly dissatisfied with that and firmly opposes it", it said, adding that the U.S. should "stop pursuing any official ties with Taiwan or improving its current relations with Taiwan in any substantive way".

The action came despite China warning that the Taiwan Travel Act would severely damage relations between Washington and Beijing.

The bill, which was passed by Congress last month, says it should be United States policy to allow visits at all levels. Since then, Beijing has considered Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

It could potentially be a stepping stone for strengthened bilateral relations, depending on how the USA chooses to implement it, thereby opening the door to high-level official exchange visits that have not taken place since the two countries severed diplomatic ties in 1979, many Taiwanese officials are hoping.

China's relationship with Taiwan has also taken a turn for the worse since the 2016 inauguration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing's view that the island belongs to it.

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry expressed its thanks for the "friendly move" by the Trump administration, saying the government would continue to deepen its cooperation and partnership with the USA at all levels.

Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said he is looking forward to more interaction between the two countries.

Chinese officials said the move broke with decades of precedent and violated the "One China" policy.

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