Mon Jan 9, 2017 9:13PM
The Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, right, with Senator Ted Cruz, left, and their respective delegations at a meeting in Houston on Sunday. (Photo via European Pressphoto Agency
The Taiwanese president, Tsai Ing-wen, right, with Senator Ted Cruz, left, and their respective delegations at a meeting in Houston on Sunday. (Photo via European Pressphoto Agency

China has “firmly” voiced it opposition over meetings between Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and senior Republican officials during a visit to the US.

"We firmly oppose leaders of the Taiwan region, on the so-called basis of a transit visit, having any form of contact with US officials and engaging in activities that interfere with and damage China-US relations," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, on Monday.

China’s reaction came after Tsai met with senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott as she stopped in the US while on a Central America tour. Her office also confirmed that she had a phone conversation with US Republican Senator John McCain.

“I was honored to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan today,” said a statement released by Cruz. “We discussed our mutual opportunity to upgrade the stature of our bilateral relations in a wide-ranging discussion that addressed arms sales, diplomatic exchanges and economic relations."

He noted that Houston area Congress members had received a “curious” letter from the Chinese Consulate asking that they refrain from meeting with Tsai.

Tsai is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Friday before returning to Taiwan. She began her nine-day tour on Saturday with visits to Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

At the time, US President-elect Donald Trump said he would not be meeting with her as it is "a little bit inappropriate" to meet anybody until he takes the oath of office.

China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the mainland. China has warned Tsai against seeking independence while Beijing 2005 Anti-Secession Law authorizes the use of force against Taiwan if it formally secedes.

China and Taiwan are physically separated by the Taiwan Strait in the Western Pacific Ocean. They split politically following the 1927-1950 Chinese Civil War and there have been no formal cross-strait diplomatic relations ever since.

Washington cut diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 and acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of it.