US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a call with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe, wherein Wei conveyed a warning that no one can change Taiwan's status as part of China.
The Wednesday phone call was the first that the two defense leaders have held. Wei informed Austin that "If the Taiwan issue were not handled properly, it would have a damaging impact on Sino-US relations," according to Reuters.
The call was intended as a follow-up between last month's virtual meeting between presidents Biden and Xi, wherein Biden warned over China's deepening cooperation with Russia it executes its war against Ukraine.
A Pentagon official later said the Austin emphasized that the US will continue to adhere to the 'One China' status quo policy, which is the typical response from Washington officials anytime Beijing warns over US officials stoking the pro-independence movement on the democratic-run island.
Chinese state-run English language Global Times further described the importance of the call as one of Beijing conveying its unwavering resolve to Washington on the Taiwan issue. GT writes that Wei stressed "the importance of the Taiwan question, while demanding the US to stop its military provocations at sea, and not to throw mud or threaten China with the Ukraine issue."
Further, "Wei stated a solemn position over the Taiwan question, as he stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and this is a fact and a status quo no one can change."
Meanwhile, in the latest "scare" on the island...
Without doubt part of the "provocations" Beijing has in mind is that the US has been increasingly sending high-level officials to Taipei. In the latest example, just a week ago:
A delegation of United States lawmakers led by vocal China critics Bob Menendez and Lindsey Graham arrived in Taiwan on Thursday for a two-day trip as Beijing threatened “strong measures” in response.
The group of six US legislators is making the latest in a string of visits by foreign politicians to Taiwan in defiance of Beijing’s efforts to isolate the island nation.
Early this month there was talk that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was set to visit Taiwan after an official trip to Japan - but the whole Asia trip was called off at the last minute due to her testing positive for Covid-19, after which she quarantined for a period. This would have made her the first House Speaker to visit Taiwan since 1997,when Republican Newt Gingrich did.