Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on April 8, 2021. [Photo: Foreign Ministry]

China urged the United States on Thursday to properly and prudently handle issues related to Taiwan and stop sending wrong messages to Taiwan separatists, otherwise it will gravely compromise its own interests as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a News briefing on Thursday afternoon in Beijing that the US should fully understand the sensitive nature of the Taiwan question and stick to the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiques.

The US has recently sent seriously misleading signals to Taiwan separatists and posed threats to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits by repeatedly deploying its warships and conducting provocative acts in the straits, Zhao said.

China has never had any intention to intimidate anyone and we never fear others’ intimidation. China doesn’t want to exert coercion upon anyone and others’ coercion of us is useless,” he said.”China has the firm determination and sufficient ability to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The US is the major force of intimidation and coercion around the world, Zhao said, noting that the one-China principle is the political foundation and insurmountable red line of China-US relations.

Zhao’s remarks came one day after the USS John S. McCain’s passage through the Taiwan Straits. The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command mobilized its forces to follow and monitor the US destroyer.

“The move by the US naval vessel sent misleading messages to Taiwan separatists, deliberately disturbed the regional situation and compromised peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. We strongly oppose such acts,” Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, the command’s spokesman, said in a statement on Wednesday night.

He added that the forces of his command are always on high alert to respond to any possible threats or provocations and fulfill their duties.

The US warship’s voyage on Wednesday was the fourth transit in the Taiwan Straits by a US naval vessel this year.

The US started increasing the passage of its warships through the Taiwan Straits in 2019, when nine such transits took place. The number of transits reached 13 in 2020, the highest in the past 14 years.

In another development, the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group conducted a bilateral exercise with the Royal Malaysian Air Force in the South China Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The US carrier group entered the South China Sea on Sunday, at almost the same time as the PLA Navy’s Liaoning carrier battle group entered the western Pacific Ocean.

Senior Captain Gao Xiucheng, spokesman for the PLA Navy, said earlier this week that the Liaoning group would perform training operations in waters near Taiwan, saying that the move was a routine arrangement included in the Navy’s annual plan.