China FM warns Taiwan independence moves will be ‘harshly punished’ after poll

Taiwan douses speculation it may lose another Pacific ally
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China’s top diplomat warned Sunday that any steps towards Taiwan’s independence would be “harshly punished”, after the self-ruled island defied Beijing’s warnings and chose pro-sovereignty candidate Lai Ching-te as president.

Voters on the island spurned Beijing’s repeated calls not to vote for Lai, delivering a comfortable victory for a man China’s ruling Communist Party sees as a dangerous separatist.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its territory and has never renounced force to bring it under its control, responded to Lai’s victory by saying it would not change the “inevitable trend of China’s reunification”.

“If anyone on the island of Taiwan thinks of going for independence, they will be trying to split apart China’s territory, and will certainly be harshly punished by both history and the law,” Wang Yi said in a joint press conference with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo.

“This is a dead end,” he added.

“No matter what the results of the election are, they cannot change the basic fact that there is only one China and Taiwan is a part of it,” Wang said Sunday.

“Taiwan has never been a country. It wasn’t in the past, and it certainly won’t be in the future,” he added.

Efforts to that end, Wang warned, “seriously threatens the well-being of Taiwan compatriots, seriously harms the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation, and seriously jeopardises peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region”.

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