Tag: Taiwan

Taiwan’s Hsiao Bi-Khim attends Biden’s inauguration, signaling towards building strong ties with the US
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan’s Hsiao Bi-Khim attends Biden’s inauguration, signaling towards building strong ties with the US

Taiwan was given the U.S. official initiation on Wednesday (Jan. 20) for the first time since President Jimmy Carter cut off political ties with Taiwan in 1979. Taiwan’s envoy to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim attended President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony at the Capitol Hill.

At 11 a.m., just ere Biden’s swearing-in ceremony, Hsiao posted a tweet in which she expressed it was an honor to represent Taiwan at President Biden and Vice President Harris‘s inaugural ceremony. 

She also uploaded a video on her official Twitter handle expressing, “I’m extremely honored to be here today on behalf of the government of Taiwan”. She added that “Democracy is our common language and freedom is our common goal. I am looking forward to working with the Biden Administration and improving our common values and interests.”

The preventive protocols enforced amid the Wuhan Covid pandemic may have helped Hsiao’s historic participation. This year, administrators were not given countless invites, rather were just allowed to bring their spouse or family and friend. 

At first, it seemed that Taiwan would not have a presence, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) stating that it would be hard for the nation to be represented this year due to the strict limitations put on participation. 

However, on Wednesday, MOFA gave a public statement expressing that Hsiao has accepted an official invitation from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and represents the Taiwanese government in Washington DC.

The Taiwanese Ministry acknowledged that this was the first time that a Taiwanese delegate had been officially having received an invite. The event shows a solid and friendly relation between Taiwan and the US which is based on shared common values.

Taiwan government promised that in the future, the administration will continue to strengthen economic and bilateral ties at all levels and in various sectors with the new US administration “on the current solid foundation, and will further work on deepening the Taiwan-US partnership.”

Pompeo threatens China with sanctions over Hong Kong detentions
Asia Pacific Focus

Pompeo threatens China with sanctions over Hong Kong detentions

Pompeo threatens China: In response to China’s detention of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong on Wednesday, including a US citizen, John Clancey, US threatened to issue sanctions against those involved in the arrest. On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the China’s crack down of power over protestors and said he was “appalled” by the arrest of an American citizen. In a strong message to Beijing, which might lead to retaliation, Pompeo said, “The United States will not tolerate the arbitrary detention or harassment of US citizens.” 

Pompeo called the act  an “outrage and a reminder of the Chinese Communist Party’s contempt for its own people and the rule of law.” He said, “The United States will consider sanctions and other restrictions on any and all individuals and entities involved in executing this assault on the Hong Kong people.”  Besides, the US Secretary of State added that Washington might even “explore restrictions against the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in the United States, and take additional immediate actions against officials who have undermined Hong Kong’s democratic processes.”

Timing of Pompeo’s statement did not play out in his favour as the detention in Beijing was followed by barbaric intervention of Trump supporters in Congress, in a bid to overturn the Presidential election results, which otherwise claimed Joe Biden as the country’s next President. On Thursday, Trump finally conceded his defeat and accepted that Joe Biden, who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20, would succeed him.

The entire episode at US Capitol was enough for Chinese state media to mock at its rival’s internal affairs, especially when Washington has been pointing fingers at state of affairs in Hong Kong. On Friday, Beijing accused Washington of holding  “double standards.”

“In Hong Kong, violent actions are described as a ‘beautiful sight,’ in the U.S., people involved in this chaos are called ‘mobs’,” said The Global Times, a state-owned tabloid.

With respect to Pompeo’s comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said it a serious interference in China’s internal affairs. He said, “China will take all necessary steps to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and security interests. The United States must pay a heavy price for its mistakes.” He also warned Washington “to stop its crazy provocation” and added that “whoever plays with fire will burn himself.”

On Wednesday, Chinese authorities took about 53 activities and politicians in its custody, under the new security law. The American human rights lawyer Clancey, who was later granted bail along with few others on Thursday, said that the pro-democracy supporters would “continue to work for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.”

Besides US, many rights groups including Amnesty International also slammed the Chinese authorities for misusing the national security law. The rights group said that the arrests were “the starkest demonstration yet of how the national security law has been weaponised to punish anyone who dares to challenge the establishment”. 

Maya Wang, Chinese senior researcher at Human Rights Watch said, “Beijing once again has failed to learn from its mistakes in Hong Kong: that repression generates resistance & that millions of HK people will persist in their struggle for their right to vote and run for office in a democratically elected government”

According to the handover of the former British colony to China by the British regime in 1997, it was decided that the semi-autonomous territory would be operated by Beijing under “one country, two systems” principle. Of late, Beijing started pressing greater control over the city, drawing criticism that Hong Kong’s freedoms were under threat.

Why Taiwan Is The Moot Point In Sino-American Dynamics?

Why Taiwan Is The Moot Point In Sino-American Dynamics?

Sino-American Dynamics: The ‘nobody’ that Taiwan has been, it is going to derive a kind of prominence it has never seen before. As the small island develops its prowess in the semiconductor manufacturing trade, it is going to its closest ally the United States huge competition. It is worth noting that the United States has dominated the semi-conductor market for a long time. 

A recent visit planned by the US envoy to the United Nations to Taiwan, did not go well with Beijing. China accused America of crossing its line and disrupting Chinese sovereignty that continues to claim ownership on Taiwan. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft will visit Taiwan; something that is should be seen as a clear provocation of the ‘One China’ policy, as there is change of guard at the White House. 

The US has never recognized the sovereignty of Taiwan but treats it as a point of irritation against China. Ironically, some 17 countries worldwide still shows Taiwan the respect it deserves. The United Nations does not and still considers Taipei’s legitimate government to be running from Beijing. While China has been claiming its right on Taiwan, it has made no moves to physically claim this small but significant island. 

Taiwan continues to be a crucial link in the semiconductor supply chain and the 22nd largest economy in the world. Surprisingly, it has let US dictate terms of trade with itself, without acknowledging it as an independent nation. 

Taiwan has not dominated significant international presence. But geopolitically, it has strategic importance to both the United States and an increasingly assertive China. In no way can US afford Taiwan to be taken over by China; because if that was to happen, China would instantly become a Pacific power.

As political analysts predict, it will take no time for China to get down to controlling some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies, and have the ability to choke off oil shipments to Japan and South Korea. This could further lead it to leverage a strong demand to close down the U.S. military bases in both countries as well. 

Indeed, Beijing would likely be able to force the U.S. out of Asia after all. It is no surprise, then, that Taiwan had been of the rare issues on Capitol Hill where the Congress continued to pass pro-Taiwan legislation. 

More importantly, Taiwan needs to assert its sovereignty in order it can grow itself in a level playing ground. 

China condemns US warship sailing through Taiwan Strait
Asia Pacific Focus

China condemns US warship sailing through Taiwan Strait

China condemns US warship: On Monday, China’s first domestically built aircraft carrier Shandong sailed through the Taiwan Strait as part of the training in the South China Sea. The People Liberation Army initiated its naval exercise in the region a day after it spotted US warship, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mustin crossing through the Taiwan Strait. China said that its air and naval forces “tailed and monitored” the US vessel. It added that such an act contribute to raising tensions in the region.

China claims Taiwan to be part of its territory and such efforts by US forces were depicted as US intervention in Chinese territory and indirectly supporting Taiwan’s liberation movement. After the US vessel was spotted in the water body between the mainland’s Fujian Province and the island of Taiwan, PLA spokesperson Liu Wensheng said that the Chinese authorities would continue to organise its naval and air training exercises in the region.

On Sunday, Taiwan’s official news agency reported, “Taiwan’s military monitored the Chinese ships during their transit, mobilizing six Navy ships and eight Air Force planes.” Taiwanese ministry added, “The cross-regional training of the aircraft carrier formation is a normal arrangement as per a yearly plan.” 

With regard to the US warship passing through the Taiwan Strait, US Navy said last week that the Mustin “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit” duly following the international law. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it said in a statement. “The United States military will continue to fly, sail and operate anywhere international law allows.” It was the 12th sailing through the strait by the US Navy in this year.

China reacted to US action stating that such missions “deliberately raise the temperature of the Taiwan issue, as they fear calm in the Taiwan Strait, and send flirtatious glances to Taiwan independence forces, seriously jeopardising peace and stability in the strait

China opposes secret military ties between US and Taiwan, warns of befitting response

China opposes secret military ties between US and Taiwan, warns of befitting response

China opposes secret military ties: Two inside sources informed Reuters about the recent secret visit of US Naval admiral to Taiwan, which further triggered tensions between China and US. Among the two sources was a Taiwanese official familiar with the matter, who revealed that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman made a quiet unannounced trip to Taipei on Sunday. Studman, the director of J2, oversees US military intelligence in Asia-Pacific region. 

When the media approached both the nations about the visit, both declined to comment, where as later Taiwan’s foreign ministry confirmed the visit of the US official but refused to share details about the same. China, which claims its right over the sland nation, expressed anger towards the ongoing hidden dealings and warned to give a befitting reply to the US for its actions. US,which otherwise doesn’t have any formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, (as most of the nations) has been one of the biggest supporter and supplier of arms to the nation.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “resolutely opposes” any form of exchanges or military ties between US and Taiwan. He added, “The Chinese side will, according to how the situation develops, make a legitimate and necessary response.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said that it encouraged expanding ties and making frequent exchanges with the United States and added, “we welcome the visit of the U.S. official.”

“But as this itinerary has not been made public, based on mutual trust between Taiwan and the United States, the Foreign Ministry has no further explanation or comment,” it said.

In response to Taiwan’s global call for solidarity to save its democracy from China, Trump administration stepped forward to come to the aid of South Asian nation. Last month US confirmed that a military deal with Taiwan was underway wherein would be selling $1.8 billion of weapons and defence systems to latter, including its advanced air-to-surface cruise missiles. A week after that announcement, Reuters reported that Washington has been working towards sale of five separate military equipments to Taipei amounting to about $5 billion. 

The US State Department approved sale of 135 of the precision-guided, air-launched AGM-84H SLAM-ER cruise missiles, made by Boeing Co (amounting to $1.008 billion) along with six MS-110 air reconnaissance pods and 11 M142 mobile light rocket launchers (together costing around  $367.2 million). Besides, in order shore up Taiwan’s coastal defence, US would also be sending drones made by General Atomics and land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles, made by Boeing.

The arms talks between the two nations started in September, when Taiwan raised the call for global coalition against China’s rising military aggression in the region. Two months ago, Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu said that his country was “on the front-line defending democracies from being taken over by the communist China” and was in need of support from other countries. He added China “has been intensifying its military threat against Taiwan” in recent years and had increased military exercises intruding its air and naval space.

US President Donald Trump has been trying build arms agreement with Taiwan, not much for saving its democracy, but to impede its arch enemy, China, from imposing its muscle might in the region. Beijing has been conducting rampant expansive and invasive military drills in the South East China Sea. Taiwanese defence and foreign ministry has welcomed the deal but many analyst criticised US approach of using Taiwan in its battle against China, without showing its true commitment to the South Asia country

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention
Asia Pacific Focus

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet due to Chinese intervention

Taiwan not invited to WHO meet: Taiwan has blamed China’s obstruction for not being invited to WHO’s annual assembly on COVID-19

Taiwan has yet not received an invite to a key meeting of the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week that focuses on the global implications of the Coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the island’s foreign ministry released a statement alleging that Chinese “obstruction” prevented it from participating in the 73rd WHO annual assembly on November 9-14. 

This development came even as the United States Mission in Geneva had urged WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of WHO. 

“In view of Taiwan’s resounding success in responding to COVID-19, Director-General Tedros must allow Taiwan to share its best practices at the WHA,” the US Mission had said in its statement.

While the US has backed the participation of the island, the 83-page list of delegations for WHO’s assembly meeting does not include any members from Taiwan. The island is yet to be invited to join the virtual meeting of 194 member states, the foreign ministry said in its statement. Taiwan’s foreign ministry also expressed regret and dissatisfaction with WHO’s continuous neglect of the health and human rights of 23.5 million people of the island. 

Reportedly, Taiwan has been blocked out of a number of key international organisations including the WHO due to Beijing’s objections as it claims the island within its territory.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has asserted that the decision to invite Taiwan for the WHA meeting lies with the member states. 

As per a Reuters report, China’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva Chen Xu on Monday had told the WHO ministerial meeting that Taiwan’s inclusion in the meeting as an observer will be “illegal and invalid”. Earlier on Friday, China’s mission to the UN in Geneva had condemned US “distorted” remarks on Taiwan’s participation, adding that the island will be allowed to join the assembly session only after it admits to being a part of China. However, the Taipei government has always maintained that Taiwan is a separate nation whether or not independence is declared officially.

Last week, as many as 650 members of parliament from 25 European nations had also sent an open letter to WHO Director-General Tedros, demanding Taiwan to be invited as an observer to the WHA meeting. In addition, the World Medical Association had also written to the WHO chief, calling for inviting Taiwan in an observer capacity. 

While Taiwan joined the WHA as an observer between 2009 and 2016, China has intensified its efforts to exclude from participating in the WHO global actions. After Beijing took its seat in the WHO, Taiwan was forced out of the international organisation in 1972.

This has come at a time when the Taiwanese government has achieved astounding success in combating the COVID-19 pandemic on the island. It is been more than 200 days since the island reported any virus transmission.

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