The US tweeted its support for Taiwan's participation in the United Nations (UN) on Friday, provoking a sharp response from China, with Beijing expressing strong indignation and firm opposition.
The tweet from the US Mission to the UN said the 193-member global organization was founded to serve all voices, welcome a diversity of views and perspectives, and promote human rights.
It said, "UN was founded to serve as a venue for all voices, a forum that welcomes a diversity of views & perspectives, & promotes human freedom. Barring #Taiwan from setting foot on UN grounds is an affront not just to the proud Taiwanese people, but to UN principles. #TweetForTaiwan"
.@UN was founded to serve as a venue for all voices, a forum that welcomes a diversity of views & perspectives, & promotes human freedom. Barring #Taiwan from setting foot on UN grounds is an affront not just to the proud Taiwanese people, but to UN principles. #TweetForTaiwan— U.S. Mission to the UN (@USUN) May 1, 2020
It was retweeted by US Ambassador Kelly Craft.
The decision by the US administration to suddenly raise the Taiwan issue follows President Donald Tump's criticism of China over the coronavirus pandemic after weeks of elaborate praise for President Xi Jinping's performance in tackling the crisis.
Trump is now blaming China for not acting quickly to inform the world of exactly what was happening and has halted US contributions to the World Health Organization (WHO), accusing it of parroting Beijing.
Taiwan left the UN in 1971 when China joined and is excluded from all of its agencies, including the WHO's assembly,where it is no longer an obsever. At the same time, it has one of the most robust public health systems in the world and has won praise for its handling of the virus outbreak.
The spokesperson for China's UN Mission called the US Mission's tweet a serious violation of the General Assembly resolution that gave China the UN seat.
"It gravely interferes with China's internal affairs and deeply hurts the feelings of the 1.4 billion Chinese people," said the spokesperon, who was not named. "There is only one China in the world," he noted.
"The government of the People's Republic China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China," he said.
China's mission accused the US of hypocrisy for citing the UN's welcome of diverse views while repeatedly using its power to deny visas to block or delay UN member states and civil society organizations from attending activities at the UN.
China strongly urged the US to abide by the one-China principle, the three joint communiques between the two countries and the General Assembly resolution and immediately stop backing the Taiwan region..
"While the coronavirus is raging across the world, people of all countries have sought international solidarity in fighting the pandemic," the Chinese spokesperson said. "Political manipulation by the US on an issue concerning China's core interests will poison the atmosphere for cooperation of member states at a time when unity and solidarity is needed the most," he added.