Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday defended the governments “new southbound policy,” after China and Vietnam declared their friendship at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.
The Voice of Vietnam said that the nation pledged to “persistently respect the one China principle, support the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and China’s unification cause, and resolutely oppose any Taiwanese independence activities in any form.”
In reference to maritime disputes, China and Vietnam agreed to “make the best use of the governmental negotiating mechanism on boundaries and seek basic and long-lasting solutions acceptable to both sides.”
The China-Vietnam joint statement — which emphasized friendly relations between the two nations — is intended to thwart the “new southbound policy,” an unnamed Chinese official told the Chinese-language United Daily News.
Beijing’s intention is to fend off President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) courtship of Vietnam, a country that is important to Taiwan’s regional trade and to the policy, the official was quoted as saying.
DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said the policy was not conceived of as a political challenge and many nations included in the initiative support the “one China” principle.
Beijing’s “one China” principle asserts that Taiwan and China are parts of a single “China,” with the People’s Republic of China being its sole legitimate government.
China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative predates the Tsai administration and it has always been comprised of an overland element and a maritime element.
The “new southbound policy” is not in conflict with China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative because it was not created to foster rivalry or competition with other nations, DPP Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said.
“We are not kindergarten kids making others choose to be friends with one side and not another. If the new southbound policy is successful, a broadening of cooperation would benefit all three sides,” he said.
DPP Legislator Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said the new southbound policy and the “One Belt, One Road” initiative are not strongly correlated.
The the “One Belt, One Road’s” infrastructure-building projects fall mostly in Central Asia and the less economically developed nations of Southeast Asia, while EU member states remain wary of the initiative, he said.
The the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the new southbound policy are not comparable projects and do not have affect each other, Chuang said.
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