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Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Meet With Taiwanese President

  • VOA News

FILE - Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 10, 2016.

China said Monday it opposes any contact between Taiwanese leaders and U.S. officials, a day after Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen met with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that China is against activities that "interfere with and damage China-U.S. relations."

The meeting happened in Houston where Tsai stopped on her way to Central America.

Cruz said shortly before the talks took place, the Houston congressional delegation received what he called a "curious" letter from the Chinese consulate asking them not to go forward with the meeting.

"The People's Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves," Cruz said in a statement. "The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit."

The senator said the substance of the talks included boosting economic cooperation, and that increased access to Taiwan would help farmers, ranchers and small business owners in his state.

Abbott mentioned in his own statement the prospects of more trade involving natural gas and cooperation on the development of medical facilities.

President-elect Donald Trump drew criticism from China when he spoke by phone with Tsai shortly after he was elected in November.

Since 1979, the U.S. has recognized China's official position that Taiwan is part of China.

Trump later questioned why the U.S. should be bound by that policy unless China makes trade concessions.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman responded by saying the one-China policy is the foundation of U.S.-China relations and urged Trump to "understand the seriousness."

Trump ruled out meeting with Tsai during this trip, saying it is "a little bit inappropriate" to meet with anyone before he takes office on January 20.

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