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‘Don’t use Taiwan’ as pawn in chess game

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s government, worried about being used as a pawn by China and the United States, said on Monday the self-ruled island must protect its own interests as concerns in Taipei rise ahead of an expected meeting of U.S and Chinese leaders.

China has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a wayward province and has been pressuring Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who leads an independence-leaning ruling party, to concede Taiwan is a part of China.

The United States is Taiwan’s only major political ally and sole arms supplier, and weapons sales to Taiwan have repeatedly upset Beijing.

“We call on the United States and China, when they improve relations, to not use Taiwan in their own interest or as a chess piece,” Catherine Chang, Taiwan’s minister in charge of China affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, told reporters.

Chang urged Beijing to communicate with Taipei “in order to maintain stability and peace in the Asia Pacific region.”

The comments come after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday in Beijing that U.S. President Donald Trump anticipates a meeting “soon.”

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