BEIJING -- China’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Philippine ambassador Tuesday, January 16, 2024, and denounced President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s congratulatory message to the winner of Taiwan’s presidential election, Lai Ching-te.
Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told reporters that Marcos’s remarks “seriously violated the political commitments made by the Philippines to China and rudely interfered in China’s internal affairs.”
China claims Taiwan as its own territory, to be recovered by force if necessary, and angrily condemns statements that appear to confer legitimacy on the island's government.
“We would like to sternly tell the Philippines not to play with fire on the Taiwan issue ... (and) immediately stop making wrong words and deeds on Taiwan-related issues, and stop sending any wrong signals to Taiwan independence and separatist forces,” Mao said.
She said Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister Nong Rong summoned the Philippine Ambassador to China Tuesday morning and “made solemn representations, and urged the Philippines to give China a responsible explanation.”
Marcos Jr. congratulated Taiwan's president-elect on Monday, January 16, saying in a statement shared on social media that he was looking “forward to close collaboration” and “strengthening mutual interests.”
Lai, who is detested by Beijing, has pledged to safeguard the island’s de-facto independence from China and further align it with other democracies.
“On behalf of the Filipino people, I congratulate President-elect Lai Ching-te on his election as Taiwan’s next president,” Marcos said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
After US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai on his victory, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Blinken's message “sends a gravely wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”
The ministry claimed the congratulations went against a US commitment to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan. (AP)