Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered an ominous message on Saturday at the U.N. General Assembly, stating that international efforts to interfere with Taiwan will be “crushed by the wheels of history.”
“Any scheme to interfere in China’s internal affairs is bound to meet the strong opposition of all Chinese and any move to obstruct China’s reunification is bound to be crushed by the wheels of history,” Wang said.
The speech repeatedly emphasized China’s claim to Taiwan, a self-governing island that separated from the mainland in 1949.
“We must combat Taiwan independence separatist activities with the firmest resolve and take the most forceful steps to oppose external interference,” Wang continued.
The speech follows a trip by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other American lawmakers to Taipei this summer as part of a tour around the Indo-Pacific region.
The visit provoked Chinese leadership, who argued that the group’s time in Taipei violated the “One China policy,” under which the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the sole legal government of China.
“It gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends a seriously wrong signal to the separatist forces for ‘Taiwan independence,’” said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pelosi’s trip.
Wang asserted in his address that China’s “sovereignty and territory integrity has never been severed” and that Taiwan has been a part of that territory “since ancient times.”
The minister repeatedly expressed his government’s commitment to reunification with Taiwan following its split from the mainland after the Chinese Civil War.
“Only when China is fully reunified can there be true peace across the Taiwan Strait,” Wang said.
Wang also addressed China’s oft-criticized human rights record, affirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on behalf of the country.
“China abides by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has made relentless efforts to protect and strengthen its human rights,” he said.
The minister continued: “We stand firmly against attempts to politicize human rights and work to promote healthy development of international human rights cooperation.”
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report earlier this month condemning China’s treatment of the Uyghur minority and saying the government may have committed “crimes against humanity” in the Xinjiang province.
The Chinese government called the OHCHR’s findings “groundless,” accusing the U.N. of interfering in China’s internal affairs.
“People of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are living a happy life in peace and contentment,” wrote the government in a statement.
— Updated at 2:42 p.m.