China says it will impose sanctions on U.S. officials who have engaged in what it described as “nasty behavior” over dealings with Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying issued the vow Monday during a daily briefing with reporters in Beijing, without mentioning any specific individuals or what actions would be taken against them.
China has vowed to counter a decision made by outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued on January 9 lifting self-imposed restrictions on contacts between U.S. diplomats and their Taiwanese counterparts, referring to the self-ruled island as “a vibrant democracy and reliable partner of the United States.”
Beijing’s anger was further stoked when Kelly Craft, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, spoke directly to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen after calling off a planned trip to the island.
Beijing considers the democratically-ruled island as part of its territory despite their break since the end of China’s civil war in 1949, when Mao Zedong’s Communist forces drove Chaing Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces off the mainland to Taiwan.
Washington officially switched formal diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, but the Trump administration has angered China as it increasingly embraced Taiwan both diplomatically and militarily since taking office in 2017.
China stepped up military flights into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar traveled to Taiwan in August and State Department Undersecretary Keith Krach arrived a month later.