Taiwan is open to engagement with China
Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang has called for talks with China amid rising geopolitical tensions with the mainland, saying rapprochement must be done without preconditions and with the estranged parties treated as equals.
“Taiwan does not want to close the door to China,” Su told reporters on Sunday. “It is China that has used various means to oppress and treat Taiwan unreasonably.”
Su made his comments after Beijing halted imports of grouper fish from Taiwan, a move that Taipei had alleged was politically motivated. Hours earlier, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe said China sought peaceful reunification with Taiwan but was reserving “other options.”
#Beijing banned #Taiwan#FreedomPineapple imports, now it's targeting our groupers. That's what the communists do: They buy & pirate tech before weaponizing. Free & fair trade with #China is a fail. We're just putting more ammunition in their stockpile. JW https://t.co/s3yjHYIAxnpic.twitter.com/LrQHl7G8vk— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) June 12, 2022
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore, Wei reiterated a warning against any countries interfering in the China-Taiwan relationship. “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, we will fight to the end, no matter the cost,” he said. “No one should ever underestimate the resolve and ability of the Chinese armed forces to safeguard its territorial integrity.”
Wei told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday that China would “fight at all costs” over any effort to “split Taiwan from the motherland.” China’s foreign ministry called for Washington to cancel its latest arms sale to Taiwan and sever military ties with the breakaway republic.
Su insisted that Taiwan had acted with goodwill toward China. “As long as there is equality, reciprocity and no political preconditions, we are willing to engage in goodwill with China,” he said. However, he added, “as for China’s harassment of Taiwan with military aircraft, warships, unreasonable suppression and political actions, the one being most unreasonable is China.”
Beijing has cut off official relations with Taiwanese officials since Tsai Ing-wen took office as president in Taipei in May 2016. China views Tsai, who was re-elected in 2020, as a separatist seeking formal independence for Taiwan as a sovereign nation. She has ramped up defense spending and sought closer ties with the US.
Last fall, Tsai said she had “faith” that the US would defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack. Last week, the Pentagon approved its latest arms sale to Taipei, a $120 million deal.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) rebuked China’s Wei for his fiery comments vowing to fight against any push for formal Taiwanese independence, saying he was flouting peaceful international relations.
Wei also faced questions at the Shangri-La Dialogue over China’s relationship with Russia amid the Ukraine crisis. China supports peace talks to end the conflict, he said, but imposing sanctions against Russia or sending weapons to Ukraine won’t help end the fighting.