President re-commits to ‘One China’ amidst US tensions

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to the “One China” policy, as well as to the United Nations (UN) charter principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan on Tuesday (2) which has taken US-China tensions to a boiling point.

He reiterated the commitment during a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenghong. On his official Twitter handle, President Wickremesinghe also stressed that countries must refrain from provocations that further escalate the current global tensions.

“Mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of countries are important foundations for peaceful co-operation and non-confrontation.”

The “One China” policy is a diplomatic acknowledgment of China’s position that there is only one Chinese Government. China claims sovereignty over the island of Taiwan, and sees it as a breakaway province that needs to be reunified with the mainland. Under this policy, countries recognise and maintain formal ties with China rather than with Taiwan.

The US has abided by the policy, and has acknowledged Beijing’s claim. However, it maintained unofficial links with Taiwan. The Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) passed by the US Congress in 1979, made sure the US continued substantive relations with the island, although the US Government terminated diplomatic relations with the Government in Taipei.

Recently, China has been accusing the US of secretly supporting Taiwan’s independence.

President Wickremesinghe’s statement came after US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan on Tuesday (2), which she said demonstrates the solidarity of the US with the Chinese-claimed self-ruled island.

Lodging strong protest against the US, China stressed that Pelosi’s visit seriously damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. It will also have a severe impact on the political foundation of China and the US and seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, China said further. China has started military drills near Taiwan’s coast, leading to concerns the actions could escalate to war between China and Taiwan.