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China warned Washington not to 'play with fire' in connection with a visit to Taiwan of a high-ranking US delegation led by the health chief, AFP reported.

Health chief Alex Azar completed a three-day visit to Taiwan, during which he criticized China's actions to combat the pandemic and visited the shrine of the former President of Taiwan.

Beijing criticized the visit and said it "firmly opposes official exchanges between the US and Taiwan.

"On issues involving China's core interests, some people in the U.S. must not harbor illusions, those who play with fire will get burned," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular press briefing.

"I would also like to remind the Taiwan authorities not to be ... subservient to others, to rely on the support of foreigners, and to be bent on pursuing independence, which is a dead-end," Zhao said.

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