2nd round of China-US maritime affairs consultations held
US urged to stop supporting ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces
Published: May 28, 2024 11:42 AM
China US Photo:VCG

China US Photo:VCG

China and the US held the second round of China-US maritime affairs consultations via video link on Friday, according to a readout issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday. 

The Chinese side urged the US to genuinely respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, stressing that the US should immediately stop supporting and condoning "Taiwan independence" forces and fulfill its commitment to not supporting "Taiwan independence."

Maritime affairs between China and the US require better communication and related differences need to be actively managed to enable a more predictable and stable relationship in maritime affairs between the two countries, experts said. 

The latest round of consultations comes at a critical time that helps both sides further clarify their positions and send clear signals, experts said, noting that China has made clear to the US about its red lines and bottom lines, warning the US not to continue playing with fire and moving in the wrong and dangerous direction on some matters like the Taiwan question. 

The second round of consultations was held via video link chaired by Hong Liang, director-general of the ministry's Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs and Mark Baxter Lambert, US State Department China Coordinator and Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

The two sides exchanged views on the maritime situation and related issues, agreeing to maintain dialogue and communication, avoid misunderstandings and misjudgments, and manage maritime risks. 

China expressed serious concern over US infringement and provocative actions in waters surrounding China, urging the US to genuinely respect China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights, to refrain from interfering in maritime disputes between China and its neighbors, to avoid forming cliques to contain China by sea, and to not undermine regional peace and stability, according to the readout.

China emphasized that the one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations and an important basis for maritime dialogue. 

"Taiwan independence" is the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, according to the readout. 

The US should immediately stop supporting and condoning "Taiwan independence" forces and fulfill its commitment to not supporting "Taiwan independence."

The first round of consultations on maritime affairs between China and the US was held in Beijing on November 3, 2023. 

The second round of maritime consultations was held against the backdrop of the US' increasing encouragement for the Philippines to provoke China on the South China Sea issue. Meanwhile, it has continued to send wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" secessionists, which is the biggest threat to the stability of the Taiwan Straits. 

"If the US makes concerted efforts with China in maritime affairs, the bottom lines and the red lines that the US should adhere to are, first, the US should not intervene in disputes between China and other countries; and second, it should not cross the red line on the Taiwan question," Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

If the US can respect, value or follow these two points, then the environment for communication and consultation on maritime affairs between China and the US will also improve, Li said. "And the foundation for consultation on maritime affairs between the two countries will be in place."

Following the highly provocative "Taiwan independence" remarks by Taiwan's regional leader Lai Ching-te, a US Congressional delegation visited the island, pledging so-called support for it militarily, diplomatically and economically, US media reported on Monday. 

The US State Department also issued a statement claiming its concerns over the just-concluded large-scale joint exercise conducted by the Chinese People's Liberation Army around the island of Taiwan. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Tuesday that the Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair that brooks no external interference. The US has no right to make irresponsible remarks on it.

The US has been indulging "Taiwan independence" separatist forces for some time, and even during the so-called inauguration of Lai, it sent a delegation and after the inauguration, the US continued releasing such dangerous, negative and extreme signals, supporting the separatist forces through various means, which is obviously very dangerous, Diao Daming, a professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times.

"The Taiwan question, the most important political foundation of China-US relations, is the first red line. If the US uses the question to contain China, it will not be conducive to maintaining the stability of China-US relations," Diao said. 

Although there are disagreements and even disputes between China and the US, they must ultimately return to dialogue and cooperation, experts said, noting that the US should not condone or incite disagreements, but rather manage and resolve them. "The US needs to reflect on its approach in handling disputes with China and return to sincere communication and cooperation," Li said.