Jul 23, 2020

Taiwan: Foreign Minister Calls For International Support for Hong Kong

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has called upon the international community to do more to oppose China's actions in relation to the National Security Law targetting the rights of Hong Kongers. Fearing that Taiwan may become the next target of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Wu stated that while "China is eager to expand its communist ideology and authoritarian international order, Taiwan is on the front line of defending freedom and democracy”. Going further, Wu said Taiwan "would like to cooperate with like-minded countries to defend our way of life.” Taiwan has set up an office in Taipei dedicated to helping Hong Kongers wishing to flee to Taiwan, which has already received over 800 requests. 


Below is an article by the South China Morning Post

Nations of the world should send a clear message to Beijing that they oppose its heavy-handed tactics in pushing through a national security law in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Wednesday, adding that the self-ruled island is on the front line of defending freedom and democracy.

Speaking to overseas media representatives, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu expressed his concern at the increasingly hostile behaviour of the mainland Chinese military, which he said had been conducting frequent war games, and air and naval patrols close to Taiwan.

After Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong, he said he feared the democratic island might become the mainland’s next target.

“As China is eager to expand its communist ideology and authoritarian international order, Taiwan is on the front line of defending freedom and democracy,” Wu said.

“We would like to cooperate with like-minded countries to defend our way of life.”

There was a clear need for the international community to send a message to Beijing that they opposed the way in which it pushed through the security law in Hong Kong, Wu said, adding that it targeted not just the former British colony, but Taiwan and elsewhere.

Beijing promulgated a national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, which aims to prevent and punish acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign interference.

The legislation grants the city’s police sweeping powers and allows its security chief to order political groups in Taiwan and elsewhere to provide information on the activities, personnel details, assets, income and spending of organisations in Hong Kong “in a prescribed manner within the specified period”.

Wu said the regulations were vague and open to arbitrary interpretation by the mainland government.

“We would like to work with fellow democracies to provide the necessary support to the people of Hong Kong,” he said.

“Taiwan may be small, but we know what we are fighting for is more than Taiwan … It’s our values that are at stake.”

Meanwhile, Ko Wen-je, the mayor of Taipei, on Wednesday described Taiwan and mainland China as “two sides of the same family” that should cooperate rather than confront one other.

Speaking at the opening of the Taipei-Shanghai Twin-City Forum – held as a videoconference in Taipei – Ko, who also heads the Taiwan People Party, said he favoured pragmatism in dealing with Beijing, given the historical and cultural links between Taiwan and mainland China.

“I still believe cooperation is better than confrontation, and an amiable cross-strait family is better than a hostile cross-strait family,” he said.

The Taipei-Shanghai forum is one of only a handful of cooperative events still held between mainland China and Taiwan, as Beijing suspended all official exchanges with the island after Tsai Ing-wen, who supports independence – was elected president in 2016. She won a second term as leader in January.

Earlier this month, the Taiwanese government opened an office in Taipei to help Hongkongers seeking to relocate to the island. To date it has received more than 800 requests, according to Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which handles cross-strait policy, as well as the island’s Hong Kong and Macau affairs.

The council said that for confidentiality reasons, it could not say how many Hong Kong citizens planned to flee the city for political reasons.

“We will do whatever we can to assist people in Hong Kong who need to come to Taiwan. We don't hide it,” Wu said, though added that the island would proceed in a prudent manner so as to avoid upsetting Beijing further and giving it reason to attack.

Photo: Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu. Credit: EPA-EFE