Russian President Lavrov accuses Washington of ‘playing with fire’ in Taiwan

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Russia on Saturday accused the United States of “playing with fire” around Taiwan, while China said it would push for “peaceful reunification” with the democratically administered island and pledged to take forceful measures against any outsider Intervention, a veiled reference to Washington.

Tensions over Taiwan soared between Washington and Beijing following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island in August, followed by China’s large-scale military exercises and U.S. President Joe Biden’s pledge to defend territory claimed by China. island.

Weeks before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine in February, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced an “unrestricted” partnership and pledged more cooperation with the West.

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Putin’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, taking aim at Washington’s stance on Taiwan and Western sanctions on Moscow’s Ukraine war.

“They are playing with fire around Taiwan. Most importantly, they pledged military support to Taiwan,” Lavrov said.

Putin clearly supports China on the Taiwan issue. “We intend to firmly adhere to the ‘one China’ principle,” Putin said last week. “We condemn the provocative actions of the United States and its satellites in the Taiwan Strait.”

Asked in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes last week whether the U.S. military would defend Taiwan, Biden replied: “Yes, if in fact there is an unprecedented attack.”

The statement was his clearest yet on sending U.S. troops to defend the island. It also appears to go beyond a long-standing U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” that does not make it clear whether the U.S. will respond militarily to an attack on Taiwan.

In his speech before Lavrov, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing will continue to work on “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan, will crack down on “Taiwan independence” and “separatist activities,” while taking strong measures to oppose any external interference.

“Only by resolutely stopping separatist activities can a real foundation be laid for peaceful reunification,” he said. “Only when China is fully unified can both sides of the Taiwan Strait be in lasting peace.”

The day before, he held a 90-minute meeting in New York with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, their first meeting since Pelosi’s August visit to Taiwan.

After the meeting, China accused the United States of sending “very wrong and dangerous signals” on the Taiwan issue. A senior Biden administration official told reporters that Blinken told Wang that it was crucial to maintain peace and stability in more

China considers Taiwan one of its provinces. Beijing has long vowed to control Taiwan and has not ruled out using force to do so.

Taiwan’s democratically elected government vehemently opposes China’s sovereignty claims and says only Taiwan’s 23 million people can decide its future.

China’s Ukraine warning

Wang Yi said that China supports all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful resolution of Ukraine’s “crisis”, but warned against potential spillover effects of the war.

“The fundamental solution is to address the legitimate security concerns of all parties and build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture,” Wang Yi said in his speech.

“We call on all parties concerned to prevent the crisis from spilling over and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.”

China has criticized Western sanctions against Russia, but has not supported or facilitated military operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Chinese leader Xi Jinping was concerned about Ukraine.

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis, Humeyra Pamuk and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chris Rees

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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