A Beijing official warned on Wednesday that if Taiwan moves toward independence, China will take "drastic measures" adding that Taiwan's provocations and outside meddling could intensify next year.

China claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has increased military and diplomatic pressure in the last two years to assert its sovereignty claim, fueling anger in Taipei and concern in Washington.

China was willing to go to any length to achieve peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but would intervene if any red lines on independence were crossed, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office, at a press conference.

"If separatist forces in Taiwan seeking independence provoke, exert force or even break through any red line, we will have to take drastic measures," Ma said.

China: Taiwan Has No Right To Join The United Nations

Despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan has emerged as a key factor in strained relations between China and the United States, the island's most important international backer and arms supplier.

China frequently refers to the island as the most sensitive issue in its relations with the US.

Provocation by pro-independence forces and "external intervention" could become "sharper and more intense" in the coming months, according to Ma.

"Next year, the Taiwan Strait situation will become more complex and severe," he predicted.

In recent months, Beijing has sent multiple air missions over the Taiwan Strait to put pressure on Taiwan. It has stated that it will not yield to threats.

While the US recognizes only one China, it is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, and it has long maintained a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.

After losing a civil war with the Communists, who established the People's Republic of China, the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949.