NewsBlinken's support for Taiwan's new President raises China's hackles, tensions heat up

Blinken's support for Taiwan's new President raises China's hackles, tensions heat up

China responds to Antony Blinken's words
China responds to Antony Blinken's words
Images source: © Bloomberg via Getty Images | Alejandro Cegarra

12:36 PM EST, January 14, 2024

Lai Ching-te of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party gathered 40% of the votes, trumping Hou Yu-ih of the Nationalist Party (Kuomintang, KMT) and Ko Wen-je of the Taiwan People's Party (TPP), who received 26% and 33% of the votes respectively. Both KMT and TPP are in favor of fostering closer relations with China, led by the communists. They have condemned Lai as a "separatist" and a "troublemaker".

Despite President Joe Biden emphasizing that the United States doesn't support Taiwan's independence, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated Lai on his electoral victory and praised all the people of Taiwan for their display of "the strength of a robust democratic system and process of election."

China criticizes the West's stance on Taiwan

"Blinken's remarks disobey the US's commitment to sustain only cultural, economic, and other unofficial ties with Taiwan, and China has already delivered an official response to the US about this statement," commented China's Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

China also rebuked other nations for supporting Taiwan’s incoming president. The Chinese embassy in London described the UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron's words as "inappropriate actions," following his congratulations to Lai and his party while acknowledging that the elections were a "testament to the vibrant democracy in Taiwan."

"We urge the UK to acknowledge that Taiwan is a Chinese province, and to tread carefully in regards to Taiwan-related affairs, adhering to the One-China Principle, and to refrain from making any remarks that interfere with China's internal affairs," stated the Chinese diplomatic outpost in London.

Elsewhere, the Chinese embassy in Japan lodged an official diplomatic protest after Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa congratulated Lai on his victory. Kamikawa referred to Taiwan as "an extremely key partner and important friend" but clarified that their working relations with Taipei are "non-governmental".

"We solemnly urge the Japanese side to abstain from disrupting peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and China–Japan relations," declared the Chinese embassy in Tokyo.

Also, Xiao Qian, China's ambassador to Australia, penned an article in "The Australian" on Friday, in which he cautioned the Canberra government against the potential dangers of supporting "Taiwan's independence forces".

"If Australia aligns itself with Taiwan's separatist forces, the Australian people would be pushed to the brink," wrote the Chinese diplomat.

The prospect of using force

The Beijing government has never officially ruled Taiwan but asserts that the democratically-governed island is an "inseparable" part of Chinese territory and a "rebellious province".

Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi have repeatedly cautioned that the Chinese military is prepared to subjugate Taiwan by force if required and labeled this year's presidential race as a "choice between war and peace."

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