Beijing says US to pay ‘heavy price’ if its UN envoy travel to Taiwan

BEIJING (AFP):   China on Thursday threatened that the United States would pay a “heavy price” if its United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft kept plans announced by the State Department to travel to Taiwan next week.

“The United States will pay a heavy price for its wrong action,” a statement from the Chinese mission to the UN said.

“China strongly urges the United States to stop its crazy provocation, stop creating new difficulties for China-US relations and the two countries’ cooperation in the United Nations, and stop going further on the wrong path.” China “firmly opposes” the visit and demands the US cancel its plans, the statement added, reiterating Beijing’s one-China policy that maintains Taiwan is a province of the nation.

The American UN mission said Thursday evening that Craft would be in Taipei from January 13 to 15, meeting with Taiwanese officials and other members of the diplomatic community.

“During her trip, the Ambassador will reinforce the U.S. government’s strong and ongoing support for Taiwan’s international space,” the American statement said.

Craft is scheduled to speak at the Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs on January 14, “on Taiwan’s impressive contributions to the global community and the importance of Taiwan’s meaningful and expanded participation in international organizations,” according to the statement.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua had also criticized the trip earlier in the day, saying a US ambassador’s presence in Taiwan would violate Chinese sovereignty.

Administration officials under President Donald Trump already visited Taiwan last year, despite opposition from Beijing, amid US-Chinese tensions over trade, security and human rights.