Title: British Parliament Refers to Taiwan as “Independent Country” in Official Document, Risking Backlash from China
In an unprecedented move, the British Parliament has referred to Taiwan as an “independent country” in an official document, breaking a long-standing political taboo. The influential foreign affairs committee of the House of Commons adopted the new language in a report, which could potentially strain relations with Beijing, as China has vehemently denied Taiwan’s statehood.
With only 13 countries diplomatically recognizing Taiwan, this bold act by the British Parliament highlights a growing international sentiment to support the island nation. Committee Chairperson Alicia Kearns emphasized the urgency for the foreign secretary to stand by Taiwan and uphold its right to self-determination, despite potential repercussions from China.
Not surprisingly, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin criticized the report and urged the British parliament to adhere to the “one China” principle. However, the Taiwanese foreign ministry expressed gratitude to Westminster for its support, recognizing the significance of this gesture in the face of ongoing political pressure.
The committee report not only criticized the UK government for not being assertive enough in supporting Taiwan but also called for the preparation of sanctions and trilateral cooperation with Japan and Taiwan. Additionally, the committee urged the government to campaign for Taiwan’s admission to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), further solidifying its recognition on the global stage.
Another major point highlighted in the report was the British government’s lack of transparency regarding its China strategy. The committee called for a public, unclassified version of the strategy to be published, emphasizing the need for openness and accountability in dealing with the “epoch-defining and systemic challenge” presented by China, as defined by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government.
The report also stressed the UK government’s responsibility to address China’s “transnational repression” on British soil. It demanded a tougher stance on safeguarding the rights and freedoms of individuals affected by China’s actions, signaling a shift towards a more robust approach in dealing with the country’s behavior.
In a rare development, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is set to visit Beijing, marking the first visit by a top British envoy to China in five years. This visit serves as an opportunity for both countries to engage in meaningful dialogue and find common ground on various issues, including the UK’s stance on Taiwan.
As the global geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, the British Parliament’s recognition of Taiwan as an “independent country” showcases the growing support for its legitimacy. However, it also presents potential challenges and repercussions from China, as the two nations navigate their complex relationship in the coming months.
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