Taipei [Taiwan], April 1 (ANI): NASA seems to have offended China by referring to Taiwan as a country and Beijing called on the US space agency to rectify its mistake "as soon as possible".
China on Wednesday reacted angrily to the listing of Taiwan as a country on a menu of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website asking people to send their name to Mars.
"We hold a clear and firm attitude that the island of Taiwan is part of China," Global Times quoted Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the Beijing office that handles matters related to the democratically ruled island.
"It has severely violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques. It is not only against the international consensus on the one-China principle but also hurts Chinese people's feelings," Zhu said.
This comes as tensions between China and the US have escalated in the past few months over a slew of issues.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.
Last month, US Secretary of the state, Antony Blinken, has referred to Taiwan as "country", the term so far avoided by US officials.
He made the remark during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on March 10 on the Biden administration's foreign policy agenda.
Blinken was responding to California Republican Representative Young Kim, who called on the US to include Taiwan in the upcoming Democracy Summit.
"I share your view that Taiwan is a strong democracy, a very strong technological power, and a country that can contribute to the world, not just to its own people. COVID is a very good example of that," Sputnik quoted Blinken as saying.
The State Department used to have an unwritten policy to avoid using the word "country" when referring to the self-ruled island as part of the US commitment to Beijing's so-called "One China Policy", according to Sputnik. (ANI)