China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang said on Friday that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China, and that it is right and proper for China to uphold its sovereignty.
Qin made the remarks at the Lanting Forum in Shanghai, where he discussed a wide range of topics from debt, the global economy, and Taiwan.
"Recently there has been absurd rhetoric accusing China of upending the status quo, disrupting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," Qin said. "The logic is absurd and the conclusion dangerous."
He added that "fair-minded people can see who is engaged in hegemonic bullying and high-minded practices."
"It is not the Chinese mainland, but the Taiwan independence separatist forces and a handful of countries attempting to disrupt the status quo," Qin said. "Those who play with fire on Taiwan will eventually get themselves burned."
China recently held military exercises around the self-ruled island after Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, returned to Taipei following a meeting in Los Angeles with U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Beijing views democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, a claim the government in Taipei strongly rejects, and routinely denounces high-level meetings between Taiwanese and foreign leaders and officials.