Taiwan’s top security agency yesterday said that China’s move to set up diplomatic ties with one of Taiwan’s former African allies was meant to put pressure on president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to “fall in line” before her inauguration on May 20.
China resumed ties with the small west African state of the Gambia last week, ending an unofficial diplomatic truce between China and Taiwan following landslide wins in presidential and parliamentary elections by Tsai and the Democratic Progressive Party.
China and Taiwan have for years tried to poach each other’s allies, often dangling generous aid packages in front of leaders of developing nations.
The National Security Bureau (NSB) said in a report yesterday presented to the legislature that Taiwan’s ties with its few remaining diplomatic allies were at risk of being undermined by financial aid packages from China.
“The warning to our new government was thick with meaning,” the bureau’s report said. “It had the intention of pressuring president-elect Tsai Ing-wen to respond in her May 20 inaugural speech in a way that falls in line with China’s expectations.”
Tsai said in an interview yesterday carried by the Chinese-language China Times that both sides should show good will in the period before she is sworn in.
“Through the expression of goodwill, the hope is to build a foundation of trust,” Tsai said.
She said through a spokesman last week she hoped the forging ties with the Gambia was not a “targeted move” by China.
China has repeatedly warned her against any moves toward independence, while Tsai has stuck to her stance of maintaining the “status quo” without offering a clear policy.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Gambia issued a joint statement on Thursday last week, saying that they had re-established official relations after a 21-year suspension of diplomatic ties.
The Gambia maintained diplomatic ties with Taiwan until 1974, when it severed ties and established diplomatic ties with Beijing. The Gambia then severed diplomatic ties with China in 1995 and resumed official ties with Taiwan that same year.
In November 2013, the Gambia unilaterally decided to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It then asked for formal ties with China, but was given a “no” response until recently.
Taiwan has 22 allies, including the Vatican City.
Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) yesterday said that leaders of at least six of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies have so far confirmed they would attend the May 20 inauguration ceremony for Tsai.
The invitations were extended to the leaders of all 22 of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies through its embassies, Lin told lawmakers during a legislative hearing.
‘FAILED TACTICS’: A lawmaker said Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s success at boosting its ties internationally have boosted identification as Taiwanese Self-identification as “Taiwanese and Chinese,” or solely as “Chinese,” has dropped to record lows, while 63.3 percent of the public regard themselves as Taiwanese, a survey released on Tuesday by National Chengchi University’s Election Study Center showed. Respondents identifying as Taiwanese and Chinese dropped to 31.4 percent, while those identifying solely as Chinese fell to 2.7 percent, the survey showed. The results reflect changes in attitudes since 1994 among Taiwanese toward independence and unification with China, as well as self-identification trends since 1992, commenters said. Support for independence was 25.8 percent, while about 5 percent of respondents said that they want the nation
ONLY EXCEPTIONS: The mayors of the two largest cities voiced concerns over hidden cases, while all other local governments are to follow eased CECC guidelines All local governments, with the exception of Taipei and New Taipei City, are to allow dine-in services at restaurants after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday announced that it would on Tuesday lower a nationwide COVID-19 alert to level 2. The center on July 8 allowed the resumption of dining at restaurants nationwide — despite keeping the alert level at 3. At the time, this prompted all cities and counties, except Penghu Country, to keep local dine-in bans in place. Following Friday’s CECC announcement that COVID-19 prevention measures would be further relaxed, the Taipei and New Taipei City governments
‘NOT IMPOSSIBLE’: Acceptance to the UN would end the nation’s troubles, but it would be impossible to achieve without US backing, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun said The US might recognize Taiwan if war breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said yesterday while discussing politics with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Speaking on Chen’s program on Smile Radio, You reminisced about his agrarian childhood, studies, the founding of the Democratic Progressive Party in 1986 and his eight years as Yilan County commissioner. Chen’s appointment of You as premier in February 2002 marked several firsts, as he was Taiwan’s youngest premier, as well as the first from a farming background and first democratically elected county leader to hold the office. Asked to share his views on
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected the claim Beijing has been making about Taiwan’s status, while thanking US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman for raising concerns about Taiwan during her meeting with Chinese officials. Sherman met with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) on a visit to Tianjin on Sunday and Monday, with Wang urging Washington not to infringe on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Taiwan is part of China, a fundamental fact that would never change, and China has the right to take any action needed to restrain Taiwanese independence, Wang said, urging Washington to abide