The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked the UK and Australia for pledging to deepen relations with Taiwan and for opposing any attempt to unilaterally change the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait.
London and Canberra made the remarks in a joint statement issued on Thursday at the conclusion of the annual Australia-UK Ministerial Consultations, held this year in Portsmouth, England.
The meeting was attended by British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly, British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (黃英賢) and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.
The two sides said they discussed “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues without the threat or use of force or coercion.”
Australia and the UK support Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations, and expressed hopes to deepen relations with Taiwan in the economic, scientific, trade, technological and cultural fields, the statement said.
They plan to work together “to ensure an Indo-Pacific region that is open, stable, prosperous and respectful of sovereignty, human rights and international law,” it said.
The remarks came after similar statements by the US and Japan earlier this month, as well as from France and Australia on Monday.
The comments show that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait has become the consensus among democratic countries, and a crucial part of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region, MOFA said.
The UK and Australia are like-minded partners to Taiwan, it said, adding that the three governments continue to work closely to safeguard a peaceful international order, and maintain stability and prosperity for the region and the rest of the world.
Separately, Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Yoshimasa Hayashi on Thursday spoke on the telephone with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Qin Gang (秦剛) for the first time since Qin took office at the end of last year.
Hayashi during the call talked about the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and voiced grave concern about China’s increased military activity around Japan, NHK reported yesterday.
Qin said that “peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation are the only correct choice for both sides,” which indicated China’s willingness to improve its relations with Japan, the broadcaster reported.
Qin asked Japan to restrain its actions and comments regarding Taiwan, adding that it should avoid provocative actions around the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, it said.
Hayashi yesterday said that Qin invited him to visit China during the call, although no date has been arranged.
Hayashi did not say who initiated the call, but said both parties considered the discussion necessary.
Additional reporting by Lin Tsuei-yi
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