China might use Taiwan to divert attention from domestic troubles: Taiwan Foreign Minister


China might use the Taiwan issue to divert attention from its growing number of domestic problems, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published Friday.

In the report, under the title “Taiwan stands on the frontline,” the minister expressed his fear that the communist country would follow the example of many other authoritarian regimes and look for a foreign scapegoat to divert its citizens’ attention from internal problems it had been unable to solve.

Wu went on to enumerate China’s troubles, naming the economic slowdown, the resulting public dissatisfaction and opposition from ethnic and religious minorities as issues which needed more immediate attention than Taiwan.

He told the German reporters about China’s increasing bullying of Taiwan and about its use of fake news to undermine the confidence of the island’s citizens, the Central News Agency reported. Replying to a question asking whether he expected China to interfere in next month’s local elections, the minister replied “of course.”

Wu reportedly said that Taiwan’s successful development into a democracy showed that the same evolution was possible in China. If Taiwan fell into the communist country’s hands, other countries in the region could be next, as the island stood in the frontline of the democratic community, the foreign minister said.

Even though Taiwan had recently lost several official diplomatic allies to China, Wu said that in contrast ties with countries like the United States, Japan, Australia and Germany had markedly improved.

By Matthew Strong,Taiwan News,

Chinese embassy slams German newspaper report on Taiwan issue

A spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in Germany has refuted a report by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung over the Taiwan issue, saying it violated the one-China principle and supported the “Taiwan independence” secessionists.

The spokesperson said China always supports the national unity of Germany, thereby it hopes Germany to take the same attitude to China. Germany needs to realize that the “Taiwan independence” secessionist activities on its soil would disrupt and harm China-Germany bilateral relations and regional stability.

China expects that German people can place themselves in China’s position, and better understand Chinese people’s pursuit for national unity, the spokesperson concluded.


Tsai urges unity to defend democracy

Warning that democracy is in retreat in the 21st century, the president called for like-minded nations to fight anti-democratic forces like China

President Tsai Ing-wen (June 25) called on like-minded nations to stand together and take action against anti-democratic forces that have put democracy at the risk of regression, while vowing that Taiwan would never move backward.

“Historical trends do not always favor the forward march of democracy, but in Taiwan, moving backward is not an option,” Tsai said at a Taipei forum titled “Global Solidarity of Democracy in Taiwan” hosted by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.

The forum, attended by guests from pro-democracy organizations in countries including Tunisia, India, Japan, South Korea and the US, was held to mark the 15th anniversary of the government-funded foundation.

Tsai said the gathering of so many long-time democracy advocates is not just a celebration, but also a timely opportunity to reflect on the past, present and future of democracy.

“In the 21st century, democracy is in retreat,” said Tsai, citing a report by Freedom that said this year marks the 12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

Tsai cited another report by the National Endowment for Democracy, funded largely by the US Congress, which examines how China and Russia use “sharp power” to project their influence.

The report says that “authoritarian regimes are exercising sharp power to take advantage of our free and open societies, promote alternative agendas, control and censor information, and undermine our democracies,” Tsai said.

Taiwan is on the frontline of a battle that is taking place here, in Australia, the US, Europe and in like-minded countries all over the world, she said.

“Over the past two years, we have faced increasing pressure from China as they threaten our democratic way of life and limit our international space,” she said.

These anti-democratic forces will proliferate if like-minded countries do not stand and act together, she said.

“It is only if like-minded countries work together — and stand together — that we can fight against unwanted economic, political or military coercion, and defend the values we hold dear,” she added.

Tsai made similar remarks in an interview with Agence France-Presse yesterday.

In the interview, she called on the international community to “constrain” China by standing up for freedoms, and urged other nations to unite with Taiwan in defending against Beijing’s expansionist aims and to protect shared liberal values.

“This is not just Taiwan’s challenge, it is a challenge for the region and the world as a whole, because today it’s Taiwan, but tomorrow it may be any other country that will have to face the expansion of China’s influence,” Tsai said. “Their democracy, freedom and freedom to do business will one day be affected by China.”

“We need to work together to reaffirm our values of democracy and freedom in order to constrain China and also minimize the expansion of their hegemonic influence,” she added.

She added that Taiwan had seen growing support from the US.

The warming relationship comes as Taiwan tries to boost its homegrown defense force.

“In the face of China’s threats we feel the need for us to improve self-defense capabilities,” she said.

Taiwan News


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