BEIJING (Dispatches) -- China slammed the United States for its "dangerous” decision to congratulate Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on her Wednesday inauguration, as the self-ruled island became the latest flashpoint between the world’s two largest economies.
Taiwanese voters handed Tsai a second term with a landslide win in January. She was sworn in for another four years at a ceremony on Wednesday in which she called for a lowering of tensions.
But a congratulatory note from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hailing Tsai’s "courage and wisdom” sparked a rebuke from Beijing, which bristles at any formal recognition of Taipei.
"It is extremely wrong, and it’s also very dangerous,” China’s Defense ministry said.
Beijing’s foreign ministry said it was "extremely indignant” at the message, adding it seriously damaged the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and China-U.S. relations.
"China will take necessary measures against the above-mentioned wrong actions of the U.S. side, and the resulting consequences shall be borne by the U.S. side,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
Tsai, 63, is loathed by Beijing because her party views Taiwan as a de facto sovereign state and not part of "one China”.
Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to seize it by force if necessary.
Under President Donald Trump, ties between Taipei and Washington have further warmed as China-U.S. relations plummet.
The U.S. support comes amid rising frictions between Washington and Beijing over trade, technology and allegations of Beijing’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that began last year.
At the same time, Washington has increased military sales to the island of 23.6 million and Congress has passed legislation promoting closer political and economic ties.
Beijing envisages a "one country, two systems” model that -- like nearby Hong Kong -- would allow Taiwan to keep some freedoms while following Chinese mainland rule.
But Tsai made clear during her inauguration speech that the concept was a non-starter. "We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo,” she said.