On Monday, China condemned a visit to Taiwan by British Trade Policy Minister Greg Hands. His trip defied the warnings of Beijing to avoid contact with any officials representing the island republic.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory and threatens to annex it by force, isolating the nation diplomatically. The country also seeks to codify its “one China principle,” making sure that all governments with which it has relations respect it.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, stressed during a daily briefing that the UK should stop any form of official contact with Taiwan or sending the wrong signals to Taiwanese separatist forces.
China has imposed visa bans and other forms of retaliation against countries that extend contacts to Taiwan, as well as against officials from those countries. This includes U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who was unable to meet with his Taiwanese counterpart Tsai Ing-wen during his recent visit to Asia.
Taiwan has diplomatic ties with only 14 nations and is refused membership in the United Nations continuously. It also participates in other multinational groupings like the World Trade Organization, but this access would only be supported if China halts its condemnations and threats. Despite all of this, Taiwan’s democracy, innovative tech economy and strategic location make it hugely attractive to investors despite Beijing’s opposition efforts.
Following Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China fired missiles into the Western Pacific and stationed planes and ships nearby in order to dock with Taiwan.
Despite the move to reduce diplomatic ties, visits by European and North American elected officials have continued.
Tsai’s party was backed by the US and other Western democracies in Taiwan, but Zhao predicted that their attempt “to seek independence with foreign support is doomed to failure.”
Russia’s recent military intervention in Ukraine has led to an extremely complicated political climate within the capital city of Moscow.
China-backed Eastern European countries have found themselves walking away from the forum after it became clear that China was hindering their interests. China refused to criticize Russia for the recent attack and condemned sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West.
Russia’s problems in Ukraine have restored attention to China’s actions, and what they might do. China has been focusing on Taiwan lately, and this has caused a shift in focus to the island’s defensive capabilities.