U.S. support for Taiwan could lead to war with China, says Beijing's Ambassador Qin Gang

China and the United States could end up in a military conflict if the United States encourages Taiwan's independence, Beijing's ambassador to Washington said in a US radio interview broadcast on Friday.

China considers the neighbouring, democratically ruled island of Taiwan its "sacred" territory and has never renounced the use of force to ensure eventual unification.

"Let me emphasise this. The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinder-box between China and the United States," Qin Gang told National Public Radio.

"If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in a military conflict," he said.

Asked to comment, the US Defense Department said the United States remained committed to its "one China" policy and its commitments under the US-Taiwan Relations Act.

Under the long-standing policy, Washington officially recognises Beijing rather than Taipei, while the act requires the United States to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.

"We will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defence capability while also maintaining our own capacity to resist any use of force that would jeopardize the security of the people of Taiwan," a Pentagon spokesperson said.

The US State Department and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Qin's remark, which came just hours after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed the crisis over Ukraine.

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