Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for Taiwan

Newsline: Taiwan’s top diplomat says island will stand up to serious Chinese threats

China’s threat to Taiwan is “more serious than ever,” but the island will stand firm to protect its freedom and democracy — including by welcoming those who support it, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told CNN in an interview Monday. Wu’s defiant message came as China said it continued military drills around the self-governing island, after a four-day show of force following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taipei last week. “China has always been threatening Taiwan for years and it’s getting more serious in the last few years,” Wu said. “Whether Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan or not, the Chinese military threat against Taiwan has always been there and that is the fact that we need to deal with.” “I worry that China may really launch a war against Taiwan,” he said. “But what it is doing right now is trying to scare us and the best way to deal with it (is) to show to China that we are not scared.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/08/asia/taiwan-joseph-wu-interview-china-military-drills-intl-hnk/index.html) For Wu, the threat made it even more critical that Taiwan continue to build its international relationships and show it is not afraid.

Newsline: Southeast Asia Seen Tiptoeing Through U.S.-China Taiwan Minefield

Escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan apparently stole the focus of last week’s meeting of Southeast Asia’s top diplomats in Cambodia. Officials from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, meeting face to face for the first time since the pandemic, had been expected to focus on efforts to end the crisis in Myanmar and other regional issues. But attention to the forum faded as China began four days of military drills encircling Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island in defiance of warnings from Beijing. Tensions between the U.S. and China loomed over the meeting of top diplomats from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The major powers using the forum to take swipes at each other as the region’s foreign ministers struggled to maintain their ties with both sides. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/southeast-asia-seeks-to-tiptoe-through-u-s-china-taiwan-minefield-11659872556) Southeast Asia’s top diplomats appeared keen to avoid taking sides as Washington-Beijing spat hijacked Asean forum.

Newsline: ASEAN Top Diplomats Warn Against Miscalculation in Taiwan

Top Southeast Asian diplomats urged “maximum restraint” in the Taiwan Strait, signaling growing regional concern about a potential conflict after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. The joint statement from foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting Thursday in Cambodia expressed concern that developments “could destabilize the region and eventually could lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers.” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-04/asean-envoys-warn-against-miscalculation-conflict-in-taiwan) The statement was released as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his Asean counterparts in Phnom Penh.

Newsline: Taiwan Strengthens US Ties With De Facto Embassy’s Name Change

Relations between Washington and Taipei have elevated to a level not seen in decades, reflected in a name change of the Taiwan government’s de facto organization for handling Taiwan-U.S. relations. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the name change on its official Twitter account on May 25, saying that the embassy will now be called the Taiwan Council for US Affairs (TCUSA); it had been known as the Coordination Council for North American Affairs (CCNAA). “This marks the first time the terms ‘Taiwan’ and the ‘United States’ appear in equal footing on the name of an organization together,” Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said in an announcement. “This manifests the close relationship enjoyed by the U.S. and Taiwan and the level of trust between the two.” (https://www.theepochtimes.com/taiwan-strengthens-bilateral-ties-with-de-facto-embassys-name-change_2939418.html) The United States currently has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan; Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in January 1979.

Newsline: Beijing and Taipei collide over consulate assistance in Australia

China’s offer of formal consular assistance to Taiwanese citizens involved in a fatal car crash near Perth earlier this week has provoked a diplomatic stand-off with Taipei’s officials in Australia. The move by Chinese officials has been described by diplomatic observers as “very unusual” and potentially a strategy by Beijing to assert Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, representing Taiwan in Australia, said one Taiwanese tourist died and two were injured in a horrific head-on accident last Sunday involving three vehicles on Western Australia’s Indian Ocean Drive north of Lancelin. China’s consulate in Perth released a statement on Wednesday describing the “Taiwanese compatriots” as Chinese citizens, and noting an offer of formal ­assistance from Chinese consul-general Lei Kezhong. In order to establish relations with China, Canberra adopted a “one China” policy where it does not recognise Taiwan as a country or have formal relations with the self-governing territory, which China claims as its own. The move by China has provoked Taiwan’s representatives in Australia, who say they want to “reiterate” that the victims are Taiwanese and only their office has the formal credentials to offer consular assistance. They said, however, they were unable to prevent the moves by China’s diplomats.


Newsline: Dominican Republic opens Beijing embassy after dropping Taiwan

The Dominican Republic opened its embassy in Beijing Saturday, months after cutting ties with Taiwan amid a Chinese diplomatic offensive that aims to politically isolate the island it claims as its own territory. Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Caribbean island nation’s decision to switch diplomatic relations to Beijing “serves the fundamental interests of the Dominican people and completely conforms to the trend of the times.” Also present was Dominican President Danilo Medina, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday. Both the Dominican Republic and El Salvador broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan earlier this year as Beijing steps-up up diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse its stand that Taiwan is a part of China. Only 17 mainly small, developing countries still recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation.


Newsline: China opens embassy in Dominican Republic after it deserts Taiwan

China’s most senior envoy inaugurated a new embassy in the Dominican Republic on Friday after the Caribbean country cut ties with Taiwan in a move that prompted US concern over the island’s dwindling number of allies. Self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, now has formal relations with only 17 countries, almost all of them small and less developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru. “We have witnessed a historic breakthrough,” said Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi, the government’s top diplomat, in an speech televised by Chinese state media. Along with the Dominican Republic’s decision in May, Panama and El Salvador have also switched recognition to Beijing in the past two years. The United States recalled its top diplomats from those countries and warned that China was offering economic incentives in a bid for domination.


Newsline: US sending American personnel to guard its de facto embassy in Taiwan

The United States has said it will send American security personnel to its de facto embassy in Taiwan when its new premises become operational in September. A State Department spokesman made the comment in response to questions on whether the US will send marines to provide security at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) when the new premises become operational. “As is the practice at AIT’s current location, a small number of American personnel detailed to AIT along with a larger number of locally hired employees will provide security for the new office building in cooperation with local authorities,” the spokesman said. Earlier media reports, including CNN, said in June the State Department had requested that US marines be sent to the AIT. If such a request were granted for the new facility, it would be the first time in nearly 40 years that US marines had guarded a diplomatic mission in Taiwan. But the Marine Corps Times reported in July that the request had not been granted.


Newsline: China opens embassy after Burkina switches from Taiwan

China opened its new embassy in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou on Thursday after the Sahel state stunned Taiwan by switching diplomatic ties to Beijing. The official opening comprised the unveiling of a plaque in an upmarket hotel where the embassy is being housed temporarily while a new building for it is constructed. “Today is a historic day,” declared Vice Prime Minister Hu Chunhua, who led a major delegation to Ouagadougou to oversee the event. “As of today, the embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Burkina Faso is open,” Mr Hu said, describing the mission as the “driver of Chinese-Burkinabe friendship”.


Newsline: Taiwanese embassy in the Dominican Republic closes

After Taiwan and the Dominican Republic severed diplomatic ties, Taiwanese offices in many countries lowered their flags on the afternoon of May 1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday that it will convene relevant departments in the near future, including the Latin American Department, the Secretariat, and the CCICED, to discuss the evacuation of the embassy and technical groups.