US criticizes China’s Taiwan campaign

‘PERVERSE LOGIC’::Former AIT director Douglas Paal said China believes that its diplomatic maneuvering should help the KMT, when it actually hurts all Taiwanese

Staff writer, with CNA, WASHINGTON

Sun, Sep 22, 2019 - Page 1

The US Department of State on Friday said that China’s campaign to lure Taiwan’s allies to switch recognition to Beijing has been “harmful” to regional stability.

“China’s active campaign to alter the cross-strait status quo, including by enticing countries to discontinue diplomatic ties with Taiwan, are harmful and undermine regional stability,” a department spokesperson said in an e-mail.

“They undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability and development for decades,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, Taiwan announced that it was cutting diplomatic ties with Kiribati.

The announcement came after the central Pacific nation switched diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

Kiribati was the second diplomatic ally Taiwan lost to China this week, after the Solomon Islands on Monday switched ties. Taiwan now has 15 diplomatic allies left.

The department expressed disappointment over Kiribati’s decision.

“Countries that establish closer ties to China primarily out of the hope or expectation that such a step will stimulate economic growth and infrastructure development often find themselves worse off in the long run,” the spokesperson said.

The statement described Taiwan as a democratic success story, a reliable partner and a force for good in international society.

The spokesperson said that Washington supports the “status quo” regarding relations across the Taiwan Strait, as well as Taiwan’s diplomatic ties and international space.

A senior White House official said that Kiribati’s decision is unlikely to contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, and “will not help the I-Kiribati as they work to build a sustainable and sovereign future for their country.”

Former American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) director Douglas Paal said that China’s latest campaign matches its strategy for Taiwan, as it has imposed pressure on the nation economically, militarily and politically.

Paal, who is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it seems as if Beijing has a “perverse logic,” believing that such diplomatic maneuvering would help the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and hurt the Democratic Progressive Party.

“But it does not translate across the Strait. It hurts all Taiwanese,” Paal said, adding that China’s actions showed the ineffectiveness of US and Australian policy toward Pacific island nations, urging US policymakers to regroup and rethink their policies.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) accused China of trying to interfere in next year’s elections by convincing Kiribati to switch ties.

Tsai said that China would continue to suppress and coerce Taiwan ahead of the elections to influence their outcome.