Principle of sovereignty is invoked when it comes to Ukraine, but the same principle is disregarded in the case of China's sovereignty over Taiwan, says a Chinese diplomat at the UN, in a clear reference to the US without naming it.
China has accused the United States of double standards at the United Nations for challenging Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan while emphasising the principle of sovereignty for Ukraine after Russian forces assaulted it.
A day after Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned US President Joe Biden in a phone call against playing with fire over Taiwan, deputy UN ambassador Geng Shuang on Friday reinforced the message during a meeting on Ukraine at the 15-member UN Security Council.
"While some country has repeatedly emphasised the principle of sovereignty over the issue of Ukraine, it has incessantly challenged the sovereignty of China over Taiwan, and even deliberately created tension in the Taiwan Strait," Geng said, a clear reference to the United States without naming it.
The determination of China to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity should not be underestimated, Geng said.
"I hope the country concerned will see this clearly and not play with fire."
Beijing is concerned about a possible visit to the Chinese island of Taiwan by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Such a visit would be a dramatic, though not unprecedented, show of US support for Taiwan.
A spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations dismissed China's comment as "an attempt to distract and deflect blame from the reality: that Russia's aggression against Ukraine is unacceptable under any circumstance."
"China's failure to highlight Russia's role as the clear aggressor in its conflict with Ukraine calls into question its commitment to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity," the spokesperson said.
Geng told the council China had always maintained that all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity should be respected and legitimate security concerns be taken seriously.
READ MORE: US: No 'indications' of Chinese military action over Taiwan
US stance on Taiwan
Beijing considers Taiwan a "breakaway province," but the latter has maintained its independence since 1949 and enjoys diplomatic ties with at least 14 countries.
Interactions between Washington and Taipei have grown significantly since the tenure of former US president Donald Trump, with former and sitting lawmakers making trips to the island home to more than 25 million people.
The US formally recognised China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, and accepted Taiwan as part of the mainland under Washington's One China policy.
READ MORE: Will the Biden-Xi phone call cool off or escalate Taiwan tensions?