July 12, 2019 / 10:40 AM / 3 months ago

China says U.S. should 'not play with fire' on Taiwan

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a news conference next to Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok (not pictured) at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China June 19, 2019. Nicolas Asfouri/Pool via REUTERS/Files

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - China’s top diplomat Wang Yi warned the United States on Friday that it should “not play with fire” on the question of Taiwan, expressing anger about a planned U.S. arms sale.

During a visit to Hungary, Wang said that no foreign force could stop the reunification of China and no foreign force should try to intervene.

The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale to Taiwan of M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger missiles and related equipment at an estimated value of $2.2 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday, despite Chinese criticism of the deal.

China claims self-ruled and democratic Taiwan as its own and views it as a wayward province.

“We urge the U.S. to fully recognise the gravity of the Taiwan question ... (and) not to play with fire on the question of Taiwan,” Wang told a news conference via an interpreter.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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