Taiwan denounces Beijing’s drive to leave it isolated on world stage
Taipei hits back after successful efforts to force airlines to stop referring to island as separate country and strip self-ruled island of youth games
Taiwan on Thursday denounced Beijing’s latest moves to increase its global isolation, saying residents of the self-governing island would reject attempts to deny its existence.
Beijing in recent days has forced international airlines to stop referring to Taiwan as a separate country on their websites. It also allegedly prompted the Asian Olympic Committee to withdraw the island’s right to host a youth competition scheduled for next year in the central city of Taichung.
“These are attempts to destroy Taiwan’s sovereignty, and erase it from the world map,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee told reporters at a news conference.
“I believe that no Taiwanese people would accept such a thing,” Lee said.
Beijing’s action is aimed at increasing Taiwan’s isolation and prodding it toward a political union with the mainland.
Taiwan is already excluded from the United Nations and other major international organisations, and the mainland has been steadily poaching the self-governing island’s dwindling number of diplomatic partners.
Beijing has also stepped up its military threats by sending warplanes on patrols around the island and staging war games on its side of the Taiwan Strait.
It has also offered preferential terms for talented young people from the hi-tech island to work in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing that offer much larger potential markets than those available in Taiwan.
Beijing has taken an increasingly hard line since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan is an integral part of China.
Tsai’s office issued a statement Thursday criticising the move to cancel the 2019 East Asian Youth Games in Taichung as “brazen and crude political meddling in sports.”
“Taiwan condemns China’s behaviour in the strongest possible terms,” the statement said.
Beijing hailed the decision by the East Asian Olympic Committee to cancel Taiwan’s right to host the first East Asian Youth Games, scheduled for 2019, local media reported.
An Fengshan, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China’s State Council, said that Taiwan was to blame for the cancellation, claiming that the actions of “Taiwan independence” elements on the self-ruled island had led to political interference, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
In 2014, the EAOC granted the city of Taichung the right to host the games to support the promotion of the Olympics and development of sports in Taiwan.
However, on Tuesday, the EAOC revoked Taichung’s right to host the games due to “political factors.”
Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, or cabinet, later Tuesday accused China of political interference that resulted in the revocation.
“China has hurt the development of sports for political gain, employing rough tactics to sabotage the hosting of an international sporting event. These actions show that China is not a civilised nation but a troublemaker in the global community,” it said.
Additional reporting by Kyodo