State-run Chinese tabloid Global Times sounded a warning to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday only hours after Taiwan's president transited Houston, saying that China would seek to "take revenge" should Trump renege on the one-China policy.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met senior U.S. Republican lawmakers during her stopover in Houston en route to Central America, where she will visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Beijing had asked Washington not to allow Tsai to enter the United States and that she not have any formal government meetings under the one China policy.
"Sticking to (the one China) principle is not a capricious request by China upon U.S. presidents, but an obligation of U.S. presidents to maintain China-U.S. relations and respect the existing order of the Asia-Pacific," said the Global Times editorial. The influential tabloid is published by the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily.
Trump triggered protests from Beijing last month by accepting a congratulatory telephone call from Tsai and questioning Washington's long-standing position that Taiwan is part of one China. He has said that he will not meet with Tsai.
The Global Times said Beijing did not need to feel grateful to Trump for not meeting Tsai, but added: "If Trump reneges on the one-China policy after taking office, the Chinese people will demand the government to take revenge. There is no room for bargaining."
China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, who it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations
Tsai will travel through the United States again on her way back from Latin America on Jan. 13 with a stopover in San Francisco, according to her presidential office. The second stop over will occur before Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20.
The Global Times, whose stance does not equate with government policy, also targeted Tsai in the editorial, saying that the mainland would likely impose further military pressure on Taiwan, warning that "Tsai needs to face the consequences for every provocative step she takes".
"The mainland should mobilize all possible measures to squeeze Taiwan's diplomacy as well as deal a heavy blow to Taiwan's economy," it said.
"It should also impose military pressure on Taiwan and push it to the edge of being reunified by force, so as to effectively affect the approval rating of the Tsai administration."
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Michael Perry)