The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday alleged that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) anticipated victory in next month’s elections has prompted dozens of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to seek relations with China.
Citing an “extremely reliable source,” KMT Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) told a news conference in Taipei that 18 of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies have been waiting outside Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to establish diplomatic ties.
“These allies worry that Tsai Ing-wen could destabilize cross-strait ties if elected president. That means we are standing to lose 18 diplomatic allies, which could deal a heavy blow to Taiwan’s international status,” Alex Tsai said.
He urged the DPP chairperson to refrain from using Taiwan’s diplomatic allies as a bargaining chip in cross-strait realtions, saying such a practice is detrimental to both Taiwan’s security and diplomacy.
The number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies dropped from 23 to 22 in November 2013, when the Gambia abruptly severed its 18-year relationship with the nation, a decision China denied it had been involved in.
Alex Tsai said it is not that the 18 nations do not want to establish diplomatic ties with China, but China has turned them away out of respect for cross-strait relations.
“China does not want to make things too ugly for Taiwan in terms of diplomacy. It is trying to save Taiwan’s face,” Alex Tsai said.
When asked by reporters to reveal the identity of his source, Alex Tsai said he does not need to, but added the nature of his relationship with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) has transformed from contentious when he served as director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) to communicative friendship today.
“Therefore, it is easy for me to get a sense of the future direction of cross-strait relations from him,” Alex Tsai said.
He said that he obtained the information during his visit to Beijing last week, but denied it came from the TAO.
Former KMT legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) said both former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former Mainland Affairs Council vice chairman Lin Chong-pin (林中斌) have said Taiwan’s diplomacy could suffer an “avalanche effect” should Tsai Ing-wen take office.
In response, DPP Lawmaker Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) accused Alex Tsai of making irresponsible threats and ignoring national interests.
“Since Tsai Ing-wen’s US visit in June, we have not heard any doubts in the international community about the chairperson’s ability to maintain peaceful cross-strait relations,” Lee said.
Rather, Tsai Ing-wen’s pledge to respect the agreements and exchanges made between leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait over the past two decades has won recognition from Japan and the US, Lee said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) also dismissed Alex Tsai’s allegations yesterday, saying Taiwan’s ties with its 22 diplomatic allies have remained stable.
Eleanor Wang said the allies have spoken for Taiwan at several international meetings, including the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris earlier this month.
“Also, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), our deputy foreign minister, and the nation’s special envoys have frequently visited our allies to reinforce ties, such as Nicaragua, Dominica, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, Sao Tome and Principe, and Burkina Faso,” Eleanor Wang said.
Eleanor Wang added that diplomatic ties are about continuity and are not susceptible to disturbance simply because of changes in domestic politics.
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