A high-ranking British official has joined the wave of international support for Taiwan following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) threat of the use of force against the nation, saying that London opposes any action that could raise tensions in the region.
British Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN Tariq Ahmad made the remarks in response to a written question submitted by British House of Lords member Navnit Dholakia on Monday last week.
Dholakia, who serves as one of the vice chairs of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group, asked the British government “what assessment they have made of any risks to regional peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.”
“In his 2 January speech, Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged Taiwan to accept reunification with China, restating China’s long-held position that it can use all necessary measures, including force, to secure this aim,” Ahmad said in the written response on Wednesday.
Britain opposes any action that raises tensions in the region and hinders the chances of the peaceful settlement of any issues, he said.
“In line with our long-standing position on Taiwan, we encourage Taiwan and China to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve this issue, taking into account the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” Ahmad said.
Xi said in the speech earlier this month that although Beijing is willing to do its utmost to achieve unification through peaceful means, “we make no promise to abandon the use of force and reserve all methods necessary” to realize that goal.
He also proposed exploring a version of the “one country, two systems” model to achieve unification with Taiwan.
Ahmad’s response was the first time the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has publicly opposed China’s military threats against Taiwan, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said in Taipei yesterday.
The ministry also issued a statement thanking Ahmad for demonstrating his support for free and democratic Taiwan, saying that it would continue to work with Britain and other like-minded nations to ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
On Monday last week, Dholakia also asked the foreign office what discussions it has had with China about the latter’s “one country, two systems” policy toward Taiwan.
Ahmad responded by saying that the British government has routine discussions with China regarding Taiwan, adding that Britain maintains its stance that the issue should be settled through constructive dialogue in line with the views of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang