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Archive for Taiwan

Newsline: Pacific’s Micronesia mulls switching diplomatic ties from Beijing to Taiwan

The Federated States of Micronesia held talks with Taiwan in February about switching diplomatic ties for $50 million in assistance after growing frustrated at China, the outgoing president of the Pacific island nation has said in a letter. Tensions between the United States and China for security influence in the Pacific islands are rising, and FSM President David Panuelo was a prominent critic of China’s attempt to strike a 10-nation security and trade pact. Panuelo lost his seat in Tuesday’s national poll, election officials confirmed. In a letter sent to state governors viewed by Reuters, Panuelo said he met with Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu in February to discuss switching diplomatic recognition. “I was transparent with Foreign Minister Wu; we project we need an injection of approximately $50,000,000 to meet our future needs. We can and will receive this, over a three year period, if and when we establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” he wrote. “Taiwan assures me that they will simply ‘pick up’ any and all projects that China is currently undertaking.” (https://neuters.de/world/pacifics-micronesia-talks-switch-ties-beijing-taiwan-letter-2023-03-10/) The aid would come on top of “greatly added layers of security and protection that come with our country distancing itself from the PRC, which has demonstrated a keen capability to undermine our sovereignty, reject our values, and uses our elected and senior officials for their own purposes,” he added. An interim $15 million annual assistance package was also offered, he wrote. A spokesperson from the FSM president’s office declined to comment and Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it was working on a statement.

Newsline: China’s diplomat condemns Czech president-elect’s Taiwan call

China’s diplomat condemned on Tuesday a phone call between Czech President-elect Petr Pavel and Taiwan President Tsai Ing-Wen, saying he ignored Beijing’s repeated attempts at dissuasion. “Czech President-elect Pavel ignored China’s repeated attempts to dissuade him and our repeated representations,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning Mao told reporters. “He has persisted in stepping on China’s red line, seriously interfering in China’s domestic affairs and hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.” (https://neuters.de/world/china-slams-czech-president-elect-over-phone-call-with-taiwan-president-2023-01-31/) Monday’s call was a diplomatic breakthrough for the China-claimed island, which has no formal relations with Prague.In 2016, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump also spoke by phone with Tsai, setting off a storm of protest from Beijing.

Newsline: Guatemala eyes summit of ‘Taiwan-friendly’ countries in March 2023

Guatemala plans to hold a summit in March for senior officials from “Taiwan-friendly” countries and hopes Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen will attend, the Guatemalan ambassador in Taipei said on Monday. Speaking after presenting Tsai his diplomatic credentials as new ambassador in Taiwan, Oscar Adolfo Padilla Lam reaffirmed his country’s friendship, according to a read out of the meeting from the Taiwanese presidential office. “As Taiwan’s unchanging friend and ally, Guatemala intends to hold a high-level meeting of Taiwan-friendly countries in March to promote exchanges between friendly countries and reaffirm recognition and support for the Republic of China, Taiwan,” he said, referring to the island’s official name. “If President Tsai’s itinerary allows, I hope she can co-chair such an important meeting with President (Alejandro) Giammattei.” (https://neuters.de/world/guatemala-plans-march-summit-taiwan-friendly-countries-2022-12-19/) Tsai, who visited Guatemala in 2017, did not say in a statement from her office about the meeting if she would take up the invitation. However, she thanked Guatemala for its support, including sending Foreign Minister Mario Bucaro to Taipei in August just after China carried out war games near the island. Guatemala is one of only 14 countries to retain formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, and one of three allies left in Central America, alongside Honduras and Belize.

Newsline: US, China top diplomats to meet on high tensions

The top US and Chinese diplomats meet Friday in New York as soaring tensions show signs of easing, but Beijing issued a new warning against support for Taiwan. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi are set to meet on the sidelines of the annual United Nations summit, their first encounter since extensive talks in July in Bali where both sides appeared optimistic for more stability. One month later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, infuriating Beijing which staged exercises seen as a trial run for an invasion of the self-governing democracy. In a sign of smoother ties, Wang said he met in New York with US climate envoy John Kerry despite China’s announcement after Pelosi’s visit that it was curbing cooperation on the issue, a key priority for Biden. But in a speech before his talks with Blinken, Wang reiterated anger over US support for Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory. (https://news.yahoo.com/us-china-top-diplomats-meet-015230512.html) President Joe Biden in an interview aired Sunday said he was ready to intervene militarily if China uses force, once again deviating from decades of US ambiguity.

Newsline: China’s ambassador to Australia threatens to ‘punish’ Taiwanese independence advocates

China’s ambassador to Australia has warned that Taiwanese people advocating full independence from the mainland will be “punished” according to Chinese law, speaking in an interview with the ABC’s 7.30 program. Ambassador Xiao Qian was pressed on whether Taiwanese people would be “re-educated” in the event of reunification with the mainland, as has been publicly suggested by China’s ambassador in Paris. Mr Xiao said they would be obliged to learn about China but rejected the idea the education would be “forced”. “This is a question of obligation … not a question of force,” he said. (https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/taiwanese-independence-advocates-will-be-punished-says-chinese-ambassador/ar-AA11whxR) But Mr Xiao said for a “handful” of “secessionists” who were “stubborn” in their pursuit of Taiwanese independence, it was “not a question of re-education” — instead, they would be “punished according to law”.

Newsline: Singapore’s Former Top Diplomat Warns to Not Underestimate China on Taiwan

Singapore’s former top diplomat warned on Monday that a conflict in Taiwan would trigger a strong Chinese response. Former Foreign Minister George Yeo told Bloomberg Television, without naming anyone, that “people” don’t understand just how deep an issue Taiwan is for China and underestimate the severity of a conflict if one were to come. Already fraught ties between the US and China have continued to deteriorate since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visited the self-governing island last month amid concerns a miscalculation could lead to conflict. “If there is conflict over Taiwan — let us say that China loses the first few battles, gets bloodied — it will evoke in the Chinese body politic a reaction as profound as that in the US of Pearl Harbor,” he said. “This is that serious, and people who do not know the history do not realize the game they’re playing.” “There are people who think that Taiwan is a card to be played,” Yeo said. “They don’t realize how serious this game is. For China, it’s deeply emotional.” (https://news.yahoo.com/singapore-ex-diplomat-warns-not-062145528.html) Since Pelosi’s visit, China has sent warplanes across the Taiwan Strait’s so-called median line almost daily, shrinking a buffer zone that has helped keep the peace for decades. The flights show how Beijing is attempting to use the visit to establish a lasting presence closer to Taiwan.

Newsline: Chinese Embassy in Cambodia helps scam victims from Taiwan

Taiwan people who went to Cambodia for job opportunities were employed in jobs which apparently were not commensurate with their pay, and some were subjected to violence, including imprisonment, beatings, abuse and even sexual assault. “Taiwan compatriots are Chinese citizens, so if you have any difficulties, please contact the embassy,” Chinese Embassy in Cambodia told the Taiwan compatriots after some of them were reportedly forced to join online gambling, telecommunications fraud and other illegal activities and have been subjected to movement restriction in Cambodia. In a statement issued on Saturday night, the embassy said they will provide timely and efficient consular protection services to all Chinese citizens in Cambodia, including Taiwan compatriots, noting that safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Taiwan compatriots is the duty of China’s diplomatic missions abroad. (https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202208/1273527.shtml) According to Taiwan media reports, more than 8,600 Taiwan people went to Cambodia from January to July, and only 5,000 returned to the island, with about 3,000 people still stranded there, reports said.

Newsline: US Ambassador warns China against ‘manufactured crisis’ in Taiwan Strait

China needs to convince the rest of the world it is not an “agent of instability” and will act peacefully in the Taiwan Strait, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said in his first TV interview since taking up his post in Beijing six months ago. Burns spoke candidly about Beijing’s reaction to a visit by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan earlier this month, to which China responded by launching extensive military drills around the self-governing island and suspending key diplomatic communications with the US. “We do not believe there should be a crisis in US-China relations over the visit — the peaceful visit — of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to Taiwan … it was a manufactured crisis by the government in Beijing. It was an overreaction,” Burns told CNN Friday from the US Embassy. It is now “incumbent upon the government here in Beijing to convince the rest of the world that it will act peacefully in the future,” the ambassador said. “I think there’s a lot of concern around the world that China has now become an agent of instability in the Taiwan Strait and that’s not in anyone’s interest.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/19/china/us-ambassador-nicholas-burns-interview-china-intl-hnk/index.html) Burns, a career diplomat and former US ambassador to NATO, arrived in Beijing in March to take up what is arguably the US’ most important diplomatic posting — navigating US-China ties already strained by tensions over a range of issues including China’s human rights record, trade practices and military expansion in the South China Sea.

Newsline: China’s ambassador warns U.S. of Taiwan consequences

China will view further U.S. arms sales, official travel to Taiwan or naval activity near the self-governing island as provocations that will further destabilize relations and prevent progress on other issues, Beijing’s ambassador to the U.S. warned. Ambassador Qin Gang said if Washington doesn’t “show restraint” in the wake of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, there will be “another round of tensions” and no dialogue on issues like climate change and nuclear security. Speaking to small group of reporters in Washington, Qin spoke on-the-record for 80 minutes, fielding questions on a range of sensitive issues — something of a rarity for senior Chinese officials. He rarely strayed far from a set of talking points — which, in the case of Taiwan, were strikingly hawkish — but did concede that Beijing has work to do to improve its image in both Taiwan and in the U.S., where he said “fear of China” was prevalent. (https://www.axios.com/2022/08/16/china-ambassador-warns-taiwan-response-us) China conducted weeklong military drills after Pelosi’s trip earlier this month. They appeared to be a dress rehearsal for subduing Taiwan and involved newly aggressive steps, like disregarding the median line between Taiwan and the mainland.

Newsline: De facto U.S. embassy says congressional delegation visits Taiwan

A U.S. congressional delegation will visit Taiwan from Aug. 14 to 15 to meet with senior Taiwan leaders, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan said in a statement on Sunday. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-congressional-delegation-visit-taiwan-112954911.html) The meeting comes as part of a wider visit to the Indo-Pacific region, according to the statement. The officials will discuss issues including U.S.-Taiwan relations and global supply chains, it added.