Russia’s decision to put Taiwan on a list of foreign countries deemed “unfriendly” to Moscow since its invasion of Ukraine would for now have little effect on bilateral relations, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday.
Taiwan’s representative office in Moscow is operating normally and is carrying out its mission, including assisting Taiwanese evacuated from Ukraine, without Russian interference, Wu said.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would closely monitor the situation so that it is prepared to respond accordingly if Russia takes any action against Taiwan, he added.
Wu’s comments were made after the Russian government on Monday released a list of 48 countries and territories deemed unfriendly to Moscow because they had imposed or joined international sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Taiwan is on the list along with Albania, Andorra, Australia Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK and the US, as well as EU member states and Micronesia, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
TASS mentioned Taiwan as being “considered a territory of China, but ruled by its own administration since 1949,” as Moscow has diplomatic ties with Beijing.
Russia is allowing all of its public entities, its citizens and local enterprises to pay back debts to any creditors in the listed countries and territories in rubles, which has plunged to all-time lows since the sanctions were imposed, TASS reported.
Wu told a session of the Legislative Yuan yesterday that investment and trade between Taiwan and Russia are “not very significant,” so being included on the list is not expected to have a major impact on Taiwan.
Government data for last year showed that bilateral trade between Taiwan and Russia reached US$6.31 billion, with exports to Russia totaling US$1.32 billion and accounting for 0.76 percent of total outbound sales.
According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan mainly exports to Russia machine parts, discs, auto parts, audio and visual signal equipment, polycarbonate resin and stainless steel flat-rolled products, while mainly importing raw materials, early-stage processed products — such as coal, petroleum, aluminum and iron — and non-alloy steel semi-finished products.
In 2019, Russia became Taiwan’s ninth-largest machine tool export market, with exported machine tools totaling US$107.95 million.
Meanwhile, total trade volume with Ukraine in the first 11 months of last year totaled US$280.75 million and accounted for 0.037 percent of Taiwan’s total trade volume.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), who doubles as the DPP’s head of international affairs, told reporters that Taiwan did not need to worry too much about being on Russia’s list of unfriendly countries.
Taiwan is joining many countries worldwide in showing solidarity with Ukraine and has the “moral high ground,” Lo said.
Taiwan has announced that it intends to join the US and other countries in imposing sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, but it has yet to provide further details.
The nation also launched a fundraising campaign that has so far raised more than NT$400 million (US$14.11 million) in less than a week and donated supplies to Ukraine.
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