China on Sunday deplored and strongly condemned the U.S. decision to arrange the so-called “stopover” for Lai Ching-te, saying that China firmly opposes any visit by “Taiwan independence” separatists to the United States in any name or under whatever pretext.

It was reported that deputy leader of China’s Taiwan region Lai Ching-te set off for Paraguay on Aug. 12 to attend the inauguration of Paraguay’s new president, and has arrived in New York for a “stopover”.

When asked to comment on relevant reports, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the United States and the Taiwan region.

“We firmly oppose the U.S. government having any form of official contact with the Taiwan region,” said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said that Lai Ching-te clings stubbornly to the separatist position for “Taiwan independence”. He is a troublemaker through and through. The U.S. and the Taiwan authorities arranged for Lai to engage in political activities in the United States in the name of having a “stopover”. This seriously violates the one-China principle, gravely undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The fact once again shows that the fundamental cause of the continued tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan authorities’ attempt to solicit U.S. support for “Taiwan independence” and that the United States is bent on using Taiwan to contain China.

“The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations,” said the spokesperson, urging the United States to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, deliver on its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” or “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop conniving at and supporting “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their separatist activities and stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle.

“China is closely following the developments of the situation and will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the spokesperson.