China issues war alert to Taiwan over US Bill

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Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also thanked Congress for its support of U.S. -Taiwan relations and pledged to "develop an even more substantial cooperative relationship" with the United States.

In response, the Taiwan Travel Act recommends that the USA government "allow officials at all levels of the United States Government, including Cabinet-level national security officials, general officers, and other executive branch officials, to travel to Taiwan to meet their Taiwanese counterparts" as well as allowing Taiwan's top officials to enter the United States.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said though the bill was not legally binding and seriously violates the "one China" principle.

"China is strongly dissatisfied and firmly against the act and has lodged solemn representations with the USA side", said Hua. The "one China" principle is the foundation for China-US ties, Hua added.

China has repeatedly expressed opposition to U.S. contacts with Taiwan, the independence of which is not recognized by Beijing as it regards the island as a breakaway province.

Taiwan officials welcomed the passage of the Taiwan Travel Act but analysts said the move would trigger more backlash from Beijing against the self-ruled island.

Taiwan is meanwhile considering expanding its contact with the US, with a US-Taiwan defence industry conference to be held in the southwest city of Kaohsiung in May.

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Both developments Wednesday - the 71st anniversary of an uprising that led to a massacre of Taiwanese by Chiang's soldiers - highlight the challenges that President Tsai Ing-wen faces in dealing with rising pressure from China while trying to keep Taiwan's pro-independence voters on her side as midterm elections approach.

China has dramatically upped its military presence around Taiwan.

But he added that Taiwan is an important partner to the US, with a shared respect for democracy, and that Taiwan will continue to have support from the U.S. "Joint Communiques, stop official exchanges and substantial improvement of ties with Taiwan". Nevertheless, Washington has kept informal relations with the island nation after severing diplomatic ties with it in 1979.

Opposition legislator Chiang Chi-chen said that arms sales and U.S. support to Taiwan were matters of negotiations between Washington and Beijing, and the new bill would also be discussed.

The Senate voted Wednesday to approve the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows U.S and Taiwanese officials to travel back and forth for meetings with their counterparts. However, that visit occurred under Taiwan's previous Ma Ying-jeou administration, which Beijing viewed more favorably.

Hua urged Washington to cease mutual visits by senior officials of the U.S. and Taiwan, and not to upgrade the level of substantial relations with the island.

Global Times, the state-run Chinese news outlet, said Congress' unanimous passage of the bill shows increased national sentiment in the United States in confronting China's growing power.