Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends an news conference at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), in Beijing, China, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu(reuters_tickers)
BEIJING (Reuters) - Taiwan's formal relations with its dwindling number of allies around the world lack a basis in international law and have "no future", Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday.
China has heaped pressure on self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province ineligible for state-to-state relations, since Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won a presidential election last year.
China resumed ties with former Taiwan ally Gambia last March, shortly after Tsai swept to victory, and in December the west African state of Sao Tome and Principe ditched Taipei for Beijing.
Wang, speaking at his annual news conference on the sidelines of the ongoing meeting of China's parliament, said there was only one China in the world, Taiwan was part of China and that was the international community's consensus.
"The Taiwan region establishing or maintaining so-called diplomatic ties with any country lacks a basis in international law, has no legitimacy, and inevitably has no future," he said.
"The Taiwan authority should be clear about this trend of events. No person and no force can stop China from finally achieving total national unification."
Taiwan had as many as 30 diplomatic allies in the mid-1990s, but now has formal relations with just 21, most of them smaller and poorer countries in Latin America and the Pacific.
China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, suspecting she wants to push for the island's formal independence, a red line for Beijing, though she says she wants to maintain peace with China.
Proudly democratic Taiwan has shown no interest in wanting to be ruled by autocratic China.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)