China ‘Deplores’ UK Security Minister’s Meeting With Taiwanese Minister

LONDON (Reuters) – The Chinese embassy in London on Sunday condemned a meeting last week between Britain’s security minister, Tom Tugendhat, and Taiwan’s digital minister, saying it violated international relations.

Reuters reported on Friday that Tugendhat had met the Taiwanese Digital Affairs Minister Audrey Tang on Wednesday during a rare high-level ministerial trip to Britain. One source said they had discussed mutual security interests.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan as part of its territory and fiercely objects to perceived foreign interference with the island.

“This move seriously violates the one-China principle and the basic norms of international relations,” a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London said in a statement.

“It sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence’ and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this.”

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Britain only has formal diplomatic relations with Beijing, but maintains a de facto embassy in Taipei. Although junior British ministers hold talks with their Taiwanese counterparts, the convention was that senior British ministers do not meet with Taiwanese officials.

Tugendhat, who was sanctioned by China two years ago for speaking out about alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, is not a full cabinet minister but attends cabinet meetings in his role as security minister, where he is responsible for countering terrorism, domestic state threats and economic crime.

“We want to make it clear to the UK side that any actions that undermine China’s interests will be met with resolute responses,” the Chinese embassy spokesperson said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Sharon Singleton)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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