Beijing, Dec 26 (UNI)- The United States should stop manipulating the Taiwanese issue and undermining peace and stability in the region, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Tuesday.

Last week, US President Joe Biden signed into law a $886 billion defense budget for 2024 in which it declared its intention to counter China’s influence in the Indian-Pacific region, including by investing in Taiwan’s military capabilities.

“The bill interferes in China’s internal affairs, makes a fuss around the US military support to Taiwan, violates the one-China principle and three joint Chinese-US communiques,” Mao told a press briefing.

Beijing urges Washington to deliver on Biden’s promise not to back Taiwan’s independence, to “stop manipulating the Taiwan issue and undermining security in the Taiwan Strait,” Mao added.

The bill hinders the normal course of China-US trade and economic relations, the spokeswoman said. Beijing will take active steps in the event if Washington continues its current policy regarding Taiwan, she added.

Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing regards the island as its province, while Taiwan maintains that it is an autonomous entity but stops short of declaring independence. Beijing opposes any official foreign contacts with Taipei and regards Chinese sovereignty over the island as indisputable.

The latest escalation around Taiwan took place in April after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with then-US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the United States. Beijing responded by launching massive three-day military drills near the island in what it called a warning to Taiwanese separatists and foreign powers. In August and September, the Taiwanese armed forces reported multiple sightings of Chinese naval and air patrols in the island’s vicinity. On September 18, the ministry reported a record high of 103 Chinese aircraft seen near the island in one day.

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