China called on U.S. officials on Tuesday not to let Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen pass through the United States en route to Guatemala next month, days after President-elect Donald Trump irked Beijing by speaking to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent.
The U.S. State Department appeared to reject the call, saying that such transits were based on "long-standing U.S. practice, consistent with the unofficial nature of (U.S.) relations with Taiwan."
China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, whom it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a renegade province.
Her call with Trump on Friday was the first between a U.S. president-elect or president and a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.
Tsai is due to visit Guatemala, one of Taiwan's small band of diplomatic allies, on Jan. 11-12, its foreign minister, Carlos Raul Morales, told Reuters.