China should not direct its anger toward Taiwanese for actions performed by the US during its disputes with Washington, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is also chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), said yesterday.
Ko made the remark in Taipei at a TPP-organized conference on the Ukraine war’s affect on international and cross-strait relations.
In a speech to open the conference, Ko said that he had not anticipated that Russia would invade Ukraine, nor that the war would last as long as it has, or affect global food and energy supplies so significantly.
The invasion has shown the world that wars can be unpredictable, and that with the rising tensions with China, “today’s Ukraine could be tomorrow’s Taiwan,” he said.
Being in the first island chain, Taiwan has irreplaceable geopolitical importance, and its semiconductor industry has a key role in the global chip supply chain, Ko said, adding that the international community should not let Taiwan become the next Ukraine.
Although many countries are friendly toward Taiwan, the nation must try to solve its own problems, he said.
Ko discussed Taiwan welcoming US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan and the need to strengthen relations with the US, while saying that China reacted “vigorously” to the visit by holding military exercises around Taiwan, banning Taiwanese fruit, fish and other food products to China, and imposing military threats on Taiwanese.
“China keeps saying that Taiwanese are compatriots, but when handling its disputes with the US, it threatens Taiwanese instead, causing significant damage to relations with the nation’s innocent and friendly people, as well as to farmers and fishers,” he said. “We express condemnation and protest against it.”
Ko said he would ask Beijing to not place its anger toward the US on Taiwanese, and would encourage positive exchanges across the strait to generate goodwill and avoid escalation of tensions.
Upon Pelosi’s arrival on Tuesday evening, Ko shared his thoughts on social media regarding Taiwan’s relations with the world.
“Taiwan should retain its subjectivity. We can befriend Japan and the US, but we do not need to become hostile with China. Taiwan can benefit from both sides and not be in a dilemma,” he said.
Some people thought that Ko was expressing an ambiguous stance on Taiwan’s relations with China.
Separately, the TPP held a national convention in Taipei on its third anniversary yesterday, at which an amendment to the party constitution was passed, stating that Ko’s term as chairman is to end on Dec. 31.
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