Metro Manila, Philippines — China warned President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. not to “play with fire” after his congratulatory remarks to Taiwan’s President-elect and pro-sovereignty leader Lai Ching-te.

“We would like to make it clear to the Philippines that it should refrain from playing with fire on the Taiwan question,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said in a press conference Tuesday.

The Chinese official also urged the Philippines to “stop the wrong words and deeds” regarding Taiwan-related issues as it may send the wrong signal to the separatists forces of Taiwan

For Mao Ning, Marcos’ move violated Philippines’ political commitments to China and interfered into China’s internal affairs.

Earlier that day, the spokesperson also said they have summoned Philippine Ambassador to Beijing Jaime FlorCruz on Tuesday for an explanation following Marcos’ congratulatory message.

But an international studies professor of the De La Salle University, Renato de Castro, said Marcos is entitled to celebrate Lai’s victory as the head of state.

“We still have People-to-People relations with Taiwan and we have 200,000 Filipinos working in Taiwan,” he said.

De Castro said China suggesting Marcos to read more books to understand the Taiwan issue is insulting and humiliating.

China asserted that Taiwan is an “alienable” part of its territory and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legal government representing the whole of China.