China is visibly shaken by the increasing interest of India and the new world order in the island country of Taiwan, which off late has become a thorn in Xi Jinping’s ‘One China Policy’. Ahead of Taiwan’s national day on October 10, an agitated Chinese embassy shot down a letter to Indian media and called upon it to not refer to Taiwan as a “nation” and also follow the “One China” policy.
The Chinese embassy in New Delhi referred to the “so-called forthcoming ‘National Day of Taiwan’” and said it “would like to remind our media friends that there is only one China in the world, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China”.
“We hope Indian media can stick to Indian government’s position on the Taiwan question and do not violate the One-China principle. In particular, Taiwan shall not be referred to as a ‘country (nation)’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘President’, so as not to send the wrong signals to the general public,” the letter further said.
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan and its Foreign Minister Joseph Wu didn’t hold back any punches and hit out at China for issuing a veiled threat to the Indian media.
“#IndiaFlag of India is the largest democracy on Earth with a vibrant press & freedom-loving people. But it looks like communist #China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. #Taiwan’sFlag of Taiwan Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST! JW” tweeted the Ministry.
#India🇮🇳 is the largest democracy on Earth with a vibrant press & freedom-loving people. But it looks like communist #China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. #Taiwan's🇹🇼 Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST! JW https://t.co/XxkSSxj5ms
— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 🇹🇼 (@MOFA_Taiwan) October 7, 2020
Taiwan has long been battling Chinese excursions in its territory and has been looking to gain diplomatic recognition from countries around the globe. With Sino-India relations deteriorating due to the border standoff, calls have been raised for New Delhi to review its relations with Taipei. New Delhi recognizing Taiwan as an independent country can be a major foreign policy move that could antagonize the CCP for good and allow the rest of the world to take a cue and come down heavily on Xi Jinping’s expansionist policies.
In 1995, India and Taiwan established representative offices in their respective capitals though the two sides do not have formal diplomatic relations. Taiwan has the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi, while India has the India-Taipei Association in Taipei to promote interactions and facilitate business, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges.
Not many know that during the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, Chung-Kwang Tien, the then Taiwan’s representative to India, along with Lobsang Sangay, Sikyong (President) of the Central Tibetan Administration were invited to the swearing-in. India had returned the favor by sending two MPs including senior BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi to Taiwanese President Tsai-Ing Wen’s swearing-in ceremony. However, the time is ripe that the Union government moves beyond the ornamental gestures and undertakes some concrete measures that give China a taste of its own medicine.
The Taiwanese PM had wished her Indian counterpart on his birthday and New Delhi had the golden chance to go for the kill by replying to the birthday-wish of the leader. However, the Union Government chose to play safe and didn’t reply to the message.
Happy birthday to prime minister of India @narendramodi. Wishing you good health, happiness, & continued success in your leadership of the great nation of India.
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) September 18, 2020
Taiwan is winning global recognition thanks to its superb handling of the Wuhan coronavirus and taking up mask diplomacy and helping countries across the world to battle the deadly virus. Despite its small size, the island country has stood up to China and its nefarious leader.
India cannot afford to be soft towards belligerent Beijing as it only emboldens the Chinese Communist Party to test and probe the Indian resolve. It’s time, India dumps it ‘One-China’ policy for good. Hopefully, the Indian media also doesn’t succumb to the pressure put by China through the letter.