Sat, Sep 21, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Political Maneuvering: Xi targeting Taiwan, sources say

CEMENTING HIS POSITION:The Chinese president has reportedly drafted a plan that includes banning tour groups from traveling to Taiwan by the end of this year

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer and CNA

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks along the red carpet during a welcome ceremony for Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Sept. 11.

Photo: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) is poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to divide Taiwanese before next year’s presidential and legislative elections and to solidify his position in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) prior to a major party event, sources said yesterday.

Xi has targeted Taiwan’s diplomatic partners, in particular those in the South Pacific, trying to lure them away with checkbook diplomacy, sources familiar with national security issues said.

Xi has come under pressure ahead of China’s National Day and the CCP’s 19th Central Committee meeting next month, especially as the situation in Hong Kong needs to be stabilized and China’s economy is facing great challenges amid a trade dispute with the US, the sources said.

To ease mounting political pressure, Xi has ordered that attacks on Taiwan be increased, with his office drafting a plan to interfere in Taiwan’s elections, which is focused on luring away Taiwan’s diplomatic partners, banning Chinese tourists from visiting Taiwan and increasing military intimidation, the sources said.

Under the plan, China aims to to poach several of Taiwan’s allies in the South Pacific by Oct. 1 with an “unlimited budget,” ban all Chinese tour group travel to Taiwan by the end of this year and initiate a series of military moves along the median line in the Taiwan Strait, they said.

China is targeting Taiwan’s South Pacific allies because they are small countries that can be easily manipulated, the sources said.

A clear example is the Solomon Islands’ decision on Monday to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing after China offered the nation a US$500 million package, they said.

Kiribati followed suit yesterday by announcing it was switching diplomatic allegiance to China.

Separately yesterday, the Mainland Affairs Council condemned Beijing for undermining Taiwanese foreign relations and attempting to force Taiwan to accept “one country, two systems.”

Despite stirring up unrest in the Indo-Pacific region with its rapacious expansionist policies and increased efforts to endanger Taiwan’s regional interests, Beijing cannot change the fact that the Republic of China (ROC) is a sovereign nation, it said.

Taiwanese will never accept any policies advocated by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the council said.

Beijing must take responsibility, as it is the source of regional and cross-strait unrest, it added.

The council demanded that Beijing immediately cease its provocations and called on the international community to consider whether China’s actions should remain unpunished.

“This is a fight between democracy and authoritarianism,” it said.

The ROC is a sovereign country and Taiwan has never been a part of the PRC, the council said, adding that the government would take action to uphold the nation’s sovereignty and to protect the interests of its people.

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