China has been taking its opposition to Taiwan's international participation beyond the realm of politics, exerting pressure even at a venue as distinctly apolitical as a hairdressers' competition in Milan, the nation's primary cross-strait policymaking body said yesterday.
"In addition to blocking Taiwanese participation in international organizations, China has come down hard on international activities and events that are not political in nature. This will only cause Taiwanese people's hearts to become more and more distant [from China]," Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday while receiving Ruediger Moniac, the editor-in-chief of the German monthly publication Loyalty.
In a statement the council released yesterday afternoon, Wu highlighted as an example the difficulties Taiwanese competitors had run into while participating in a competition hosted by the World Hairdressers' Organization.
When Taiwanese delegation head Chen Te-hsiung (
Wu also took the opportunity to plead for caution on lifting the EU arms embargo against China, which some in Europe have proposed.
"China's human rights record is far from stellar, and China has continued to stick by its threats to use military force against Taiwan," Wu said. "As such, the EU should use caution in its handling of the arms embargo so that China does not misinterpret the move as support for the use of military aggression in dealing with Taiwan."
Wu returned last week from a low-profile visit to Europe.
Asked whether there had been interaction between military personnel across the Taiwan Strait, Wu said that Taiwan has repeatedly expressed a willingness to cooperate, but has yet to get a positive response from China.
"Taiwan has already raised the possibility of establishing confidence-building measures across the Strait in order to avoid inadvertent military conflicts," Wu said. "However, China has not responded to this in affirmation. Instead, China has moved to modernize its weapons daily, investing a huge military budget into the improvement of its weapons. It has also aimed missiles at Taiwan ... This all amounts to a serious threat."
He also expressed gratitude towards the German federal parliament for its passing of a resolution, adopted late last month, opposing the lifting of the EU arms embargo against China. The resolution stipulates that the German government monitor China's progress on improving its human rights record and resolving regional conflicts peacefully as criteria for the decision to lift or maintain the arms embargo.