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15 Jan, 2024 13:18

Taiwan fumes over Beijing’s stance on island’s autonomy

Taipei has accused the Chinese government of “belittling” the island’s “sovereignty and democratic system”
Taiwan fumes over Beijing’s stance on island’s autonomy

Taiwan has rebuked Beijing for calling last Saturday’s election on the self-governed island a Chinese “domestic affair,” rejecting the label as “fallacious” and “completely inconsistent with the international understanding” of the situation.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its sovereign territory under the 'One-China' principle, and reiterated its claim over the island following the presidential election on Saturday, calling the vote an internal Chinese matter. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejected this position in a statement on Sunday, urging the government in Beijing “to respect the election results, face reality, and give up oppression against Taiwan.”

“Only by doing so can positive cross-strait interactions return to the right track as soon as possible,” the ministry said, adding that this would be in line with “the international community’s repeated calls to maintain peace, stability and prosperity.”

The message did not specify what Taiwan considers to be the “international community,” but thanked the US and other countries, including Japan, Australia, and EU nations, for their congratulations regarding the election.

Separately, Taiwan rebuked Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who reiterated Beijing’s stance during a visit to Egypt. The senior official “belittled our country’s sovereignty and democratic system,” Taipei said, claiming that “the Republic of China [Taiwan] is a sovereign and independent country and is not affiliated with the People’s Republic of China.”

China’s stated policy is to seek peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but it warned that any attempts to declare formal independence could be met with force. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning cited numerous nations which reiterated their support for the 'One-China' policy in the context of Saturday’s election.

Beijing has accused the US of encouraging separatist forces in Taiwan while declaring formal opposition to possible independence of the island. President Joe Biden has also strayed from decades of American ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan by publicly pledging to defend it militarily from Beijing.

During the Chinese Civil War in the 1940s, nationalist forces retreated from their communist opponents to Taiwan. Supported by Washington, it has remained autonomous ever since, though most nations in the world, including the US, recognize Beijing as the only representative of the Chinese people.

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