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14 Oct, 2022 04:20

Beijing fumes over latest foreign visit to Taiwan

A trip to Taipei by Canadian lawmakers “grossly interfered” in China’s internal affairs, Beijing said
Beijing fumes over latest foreign visit to Taiwan

The Chinese government has condemned a recent visit to Taiwan by Canadian MPs, demanding that Ottawa cease direct diplomatic ties with the island and respect its territorial claims.

In a statement issued to the Globe and Mail on Thursday, China’s embassy in Canada denounced a trip to Taiwan by Liberal lawmaker Judy Sgro and other members of the ‘Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group,’ which began last Sunday.

“China has consistently and firmly opposed any form of official exchanges between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China,” it said, adding that the visit “blatantly violates the one-China principle, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs and sends a seriously wrong signal to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.”

Sgro was joined by fellow Liberal Angelo Iacono, as well as Conservative MPs Richard Martel and Chris Lewis, and Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay of the Bloc Quebecois party, who said they traveled to Taiwan as a show of solidarity.

The embassy went on to say that Beijing views the island as an “inalienable part of China’s territory,” and that recognition of its territorial claim forms the “political foundation on which China develops relations with other countries, including Canada.”

Though the statement did not outline any retaliatory actions against Ottawa, it reiterated that “China will continue to take resolute and strong measures to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose the interference by external forces in China’s internal affairs.”

Sgro is the latest foreign official to lead a delegation to Taiwan in recent months, with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stoking Beijing’s ire with a high-profile visit in August, prompting unprecedented Chinese military drills near the island and sending regional tensions soaring.

Other US officials have since traveled to Taipei to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts, including as recently as this week, while Germany sent six Bundestag lawmakers for a five-day visit earlier this month.

Taiwan, which officially refers to itself as the ‘Republic of China,’ has been self-governed since 1949, though has never gained independence from the mainland and few countries recognize it as a sovereign nation. Beijing considers the island a part of its territory under the One-China policy, and though the People’s Republic has repeatedly stated its intent to peacefully reunite with Taiwan, it has not ruled out a military solution to the issue.