China has always been very sensitive about Taiwan. As China believes Taiwan to be its integral part, it gets uncomfortable whenever somebody calls Taiwan an independent country. CCP just doesn’t want anyone to talk about Taiwan as an independent and different country, but it can’t control and dictate the people, narrative and media of other countries the way it does inside China.
There have been many incidents where a leader, politician, minister or other influential people of a country have bluntly called Taiwan an independent and separate country from China. One such incident took place this Monday when Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa called Taiwan a “democratic country”. He also said that Slovenia is in official talks with Taiwan to open trade offices in each other’s territories.
What actually happened?
During an interview with the Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan on Monday, the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said, “Taiwan is a ‘democratic country’ that respects international democratic standards and laws”. He added, “Slovenia and Taiwan are working on exchanging representatives. This will not be on the level of embassies. It will be on the same level as many of the EU member countries already have them”. He further added, “If we had stronger coalitions in former years, I think we would have established such trade representative offices already in the past because this is an issue of common benefit”.
Expressing his support for Taiwan, he also said that, “Slovenia respects the sovereign decisions of Taiwanese people and no amount of coercion – military, diplomatic and strategic – should be exerted on Taiwan”. He further added, “If they want to join China, if it’s their free will without any pressure, without any military intervention, without any blackmailing and without strategic cheating as it is happening in Hong Kong currently, then we will support it, but if Taiwanese people want to live independently, we are here to support that too”.
Doordarshan interview, a foreign policy move?
However, the Monday interview of Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, by Doordarshan, can be considered as an interesting and effective move by the Indian public broadcaster, if not by the Indian external affairs ministry. It was a small but clever move by India, to show China that India too can play the cards of China’s weak links. It was also a symbolic move to support Taiwan and to challenge Chinese claims on Taiwan.
The move also shows that India and the Indian public broadcaster is here to support Taiwan, and is ready to give voice to anyone who wants to challenge, fight or stand up to the dragon. The interview may or may not have been under the influence of or association with the Indian Government, but it surely could be seen as a powerful foreign policy move by India.
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Indian government knows that China just can’t challenge or counter India when it comes to media and press freedom, and India can easily win over any challenge or complaint of China, by just quoting its commitment to the freedom of speech and expression for the Indian media and press, whether its private, or public like in the case of Doordarshan. That’s why, even if China wants, it just can’t do much about this.
Events and incidents like these have irritated China in the past and will continue to do so in the future. China might protest and complain to the Indian government, and might also run a revenge campaign of propaganda against India and Slovenia, but that’s what China is best at and has been doing for years now.