The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the British parliament for showing concern over the increasing threat to regional peace emanating from China after a report by British lawmakers described Taiwan as “an independent country” for the first time.
Taiwan “sincerely welcomes” the concern the British parliament displayed for the situation in the Indo-Pacific region and China’s threats, the ministry said in a news release.
The nation views the UK as a like-minded partner, and is eager to boost bilateral ties in trade and investment, cooperation in the semiconductor industry and information technology, offshore wind power and other areas, it said.
Published by the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee concurrently with British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly’s visit to Beijing, the report on Britain’s so-called “Indo-Pacific tilt” said that Taiwan “is already an independent country under the name Republic of China.”
“Taiwan possesses all the qualifications for statehood, including a permanent population, a defined territory, government and the capacity to enter into relations with other states — it is only lacking greater international recognition,” the report said.
China poses “a threat to the UK and its interests,” it said. “The behavior of the Chinese Communist Party is currently characterized by increased aggression” to Britain.
The document also criticized British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s approach to China saying: “There is confusion in Whitehall about the tilt to the Indo-Pacific, stemming from a failure to explain the policy, and its implications for resource allocation, across government.”
The report urged London to develop “deterrence diplomacy,” increase resilience and defense cooperation with allies, counter Beijing’s threats and protect “the self-determination of the people of Taiwan.”
Cleverly told Bloomberg in an interview that the report was “not a UK government document” and added that London’s stance “has remained consistent that there should be no unilateral change to the status quo.”
“Any changes should be done through discussions on both sides of the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
British Member of Parliament Alicia Kearnes, who is chair of the committee, told Agence France-Presse that “we acknowledge China’s position, but we as [the foreign affairs committee] do not accept it.”
“Strengthening our diplomatic, defensive and economic ties in the Indo-Pacific is critical — if the West leaves a vacuum, China will eagerly fill it,” Kearnes said.
London should announce a policy of “zero tolerance of transnational repression,” including expelling foreign diplomats who intimidate or attack British citizens or those given refuge in the UK, she added.
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