China's Foreign Ministry yesterday expressed its "resolute opposition" after United States President Donald Trump signed legislation last Friday that encourages the U.S. to send senior officials to Taiwan to meet Taiwanese counterparts and vice versa.
The US move adds to strains between the two countries over trade, as Mr Trump has enacted tariffs and called for China to reduce its huge trade imbalance with the US, even while Washington has leaned on Beijing to help resolve tensions with North Korea.
He later agreed with Chinese President Xi Jinping to honor the so-called one-China policy, under which the United States acknowledges the Chinese position that there is only one China that encompasses Taiwan.
The bill, which was passed by Congress last month, says it should be USA policy to allow visits at all levels.
Tsai's tweet goes on to say that she "looks forward to working with your administration to further the longstanding relationship between Taiwan and the United States", and ends with two flag emojis, one for each country.
The representative office is making it its mission to deepen Taiwan-U.S. relations through these potential high-level official exchange visits, he noted.
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China's hostility towards Taiwan has risen since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, in 2016.
The new law describes Taiwan as "a beacon of democracy" in Asia, and states that "Taiwan's democratic achievements inspire many countries and people in the region".
The Taiwan Travel Act will allow unrestricted two-way travel for officials from the United States and Taiwan, thus restoring direct official U.S. contacts with the self-ruled island, which were cut in 1979 when Washington switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Stanley Kao (高碩泰), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said he is looking forward to more interaction between the two countries. USA administrations already had discretionary authority to permit visits by senior Taiwanese officials and visits by senior US officials and military officers to Taiwan, he said.
Chinese officials said the move broke with decades of precedent and violated the "One China" policy.
Taiwan has been governed separately from mainland China since a civil war in 1949 led to a split.