BEIJING: China on Monday said it was "firmly opposed" to all official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan, as the self-ruled island's president-elect Lai Ching-te welcomed an American delegation following his election victory.
"China has always firmly opposed any form of official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan, and resolutely rebutted the United States for interfering in Taiwan's affairs in any way and under any pretext," foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press conference.
China regards democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day bring it under its control, by force if necessary.
It does not keep diplomatic relations with countries that formally recognise Taiwan as an independent state.
Washington has maintained that the delegation to Taipei is unofficial and part of standard protocol.
The group includes a former US national security adviser and a former deputy secretary of state, and was led by the chair of the American Institute of Taiwan -- the de facto US embassy for the island.
"We urge the US to recognise the extreme complexity and sensitivity of the Taiwan issue, earnestly abide by the one-China principle... and reaffirm US leaders' repeated statements that it does not support Taiwan independence, 'two Chinas', or 'one China, one Taiwan'," Mao said.
Washington should "follow through on its commitments on Taiwan, not seek to use the Taiwan issue as a tool to contain China... and not send any wrong signals to Taiwan independence separatist forces", she added.
Voters in Taiwan handed Lai, the independence-leaning leader of the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party, a comfortable election victory.
Mao said Monday the poll was "a local affair of China".