China says it will sanction US officials for “bad” behavior towards Taiwan

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A Chinese and US flag on a booth during the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, November 6, 2018.

Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – China will impose sanctions on US officials who have acted “badly” in relation to Taiwan, the Chinese State Department said on Monday.

The decision was announced by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in response to a reporter’s question about what China would do in response to the lifting of US restrictions on its relations with Taiwan.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier this month that his country would no longer restrict contact between his officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. China hit the decision and vowed to fight back.

China claims Taiwan – a democratic and self-governing island – is its territory that will one day have to be reunited with the mainland. and insists that the island has no right to participate in its own international diplomacy. The Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan.

Experts have warned that Taiwan will remain a contentious issue in US-China bilateral relations. Former Australian Kevin Rudd, a longtime China observer, told CNBC last week that Pompeo’s move could provide an important foundation for US-China relations.

Rudd was referring to the “One China Policy”, the principle by which the US and the international community recognize that there is only one central Chinese government – under the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.