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China says US should not allow visit by Taiwan’s leader

July 12, 2019
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FILE - In this Thursday, July 11, 2019, file photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen waves as she leaves for the Caribbean from Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan. China said Friday, July 12, 2019 that the U.S. should not allow an ongoing visit by Tsai to New York and cease all official exchanges with the self-governing island. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP, File)
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FILE - In this Thursday, July 11, 2019, file photo released by the Taiwan Presidential Office, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen waves as she leaves for the Caribbean from Taoyuan International Airport in Taoyuan, Taiwan. China said Friday, July 12, 2019 that the U.S. should not allow an ongoing visit by Tsai to New York and cease all official exchanges with the self-governing island. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP, File)

BEIJING (AP) — China said Friday that the U.S. should not allow an ongoing visit by Taiwan’s president to New York and that it would impose sanctions on American companies that sell arms to the self-governing island as part of an expected $2.2 billion deal.

President Tsai Ing-wen is in New York on a two-night “transit” stop en route to an official visit to four Caribbean nations. She was scheduled to deliver a speech to a U.S.-Taiwan business summit and attend a dinner with members of the Taiwanese-American community.

“We urge the U.S. to abide by the ‘one China’ principle and ... not allow Tsai Ing-wen’s stopover, cease official exchanges with Taiwan and refrain from providing any platform for separatist Taiwan independence forces,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing.

In a separate statement on the foreign ministry’s website, Geng announced sanctions on companies involved in the arms deal, which he said “undermines China’s sovereignty and national security.” The four-sentence statement did not provide any details about the sanctions.

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it is proposing a $2.2 billion sale that would include 108 Abrams tanks and 250 Stinger surface-to-air missiles. The tanks represent a significant upgrade to Taiwan’s aging fleet.

Taiwan split from China during a civil war in 1949, and Tsai has resisted Chinese pressure for reunification under the “one country, two systems” framework that governs Hong Kong.

The United States recognizes Beijing as the government of China, but provides military and other support to Taiwan. China objects to such support as an interference in what it considers its internal affairs.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, on a visit to Hungary, said his country has grave concern about Tsai’s U.S. visits. She is scheduled to make another two-night stop on her way home.

She is visiting Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia on a 12-day trip. The island nations are among the few countries that recognize Taiwan instead of China.

Before departing, Tsai said Thursday that she wants to share the values of democracy and perseverance with Taiwan’s friends.

“Our democracy has not come easily and now is facing the threat and technological penetration of foreign forces,” she said, in a veiled reference to China.

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