China's understanding of its relationship to self-ruled Taiwan, known as the "One China" policy, is a "red line that should not be crossed" by the United States, Beijing's top diplomat said on Sunday.
The Chinese government has "no room for compromise or concession" when it comes to Taiwan, which Beijing sees as a breakaway Chinese province, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a press conference on the sidelines of the National People's Congress, China's annual parliamentary session.
Wang's comments came after the US last year had the highest-level exchanges in decades with Taiwan and sold the democratically ruled island arms worth 5.1 billion dollars.
"We would hope to see a clear departure from the previous administration's dangerous practice of crossing the line and playing with fire, and we hope the Taiwan question will be handled prudently and properly," Wang said.
Wang said China is willing to work with US President Joe Biden's administration to set relations "on a new path of healthy and steady growth," and that the two nations could cooperate in areas such as responding to the coronavirus pandemic, economic recovery and climate change.
Wang said the US has been interfering in other countries' internal affairs "in the name of democracy and human rights."
On the issue of Xinjiang, the far-western territory where China is accused of conducting mass internment, forced labour and forced sterilizations of ethnic minorities, Wang said such accusations "could not be more preposterous."
China says its policies in Xinjiang are lawful and intended to curb terrorism and separatism.
However, Beijing does not allow foreign journalists or diplomats to move freely in the region nor visit the detention centres.
Meanwhile, relations between China and the European Union over the past year have shown "resilience and vitality," Wang said.
The investment agreement for which Beijing and Brussels finalized negotiations in December serves the needs of both parties, he added.
"In the face of crises and challenges, China-EU relations have demonstrated resilience and vitality, sending out a positive message to the world," he said.
China wants to collaborate with the EU in areas such as economic recovery and climate change, and to reach "more stability" in international relations, the diplomat added.
The Chinese Communist Party's controversial move to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system so that all candidates for the legislature are pre-approved by a pro-Beijing election committee is "constitutional, lawful and justified," Wang said.
"Loyalty to the motherland is a basic political ethic of all public office holders and aspirants," Wang said. "This is a requirement anywhere in the world. Hong Kong is no exception."
The change to the electoral system, currently being reviewed by China's rubber-stamp parliament, is to ensure that only "patriots administer Hong Kong."
It comes after Beijing last year approved a national security law for Hong Kong that has essentially criminalized dissent in the financial hub and led to dozens of arrests.
Hong Kong voters in November 2019 installed a slate of pro-democracy candidates during district council elections as a rebuke of Beijing following massive protests against an extradition bill to mainland China.
By overhauling the electoral system, Beijing wants to make sure that cannot happen again.