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Bellicose US-China rhetoric looms over inauguration of Taiwan’s president

SEOUL — The inauguration of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s second term was overshadowed Wednesday by a war of words between Beijing and Washington, underscoring how the US-aligned island has become a growing focus of the rivalry between the world powers.

China issued angry warnings after senior US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, sent rare, high-level messages to congratulate Tsai on the day of her swearing-in ceremony, at which the Democratic Progressive Party leader reiterated her rejection of a ‘‘one China’’ principle that Beijing considers a cornerstone of relations.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to absorb the island by force, if necessary. Its Defense Ministry said Wednesday that Pompeo’s message ‘‘seriously endangered relations between the two countries and two militaries and seriously damaged peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.’’