Democratic Taiwan Welcomes G7 Name-Check as China Hits Out at Communique

President Tsai Ing-wen reads her island nation's first mention by the group as a sign of 'unwavering support.'
2021-06-14
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Democratic Taiwan Welcomes G7 Name-Check as China Hits Out at Communique UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and other world leaders attend a working session at the G7 Conference in Cornwall, UK, June 12, 2021.
AFP

The democratic government of Taiwan on Monday welcomed its inclusion in a G7 communique following the leadership summit in the U.K., interpreting the move as a sign of "unwavering support" in the face of China's efforts to isolate it.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen thanked the leaders of the G7 -- which groups the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy -- for calling for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, the body of water that separates China from the island nation, which has never been ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) nor formed part of the People's Republic of China.

"I would like to thank the G7 member countries and EU leaders for their unwavering support for Taiwan," Tsai said in a statement on her Facebook page.

"These developments show once again that the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait is not just a matter between the two sides, but ... the key to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region," she wrote.

"We must keep on working hard against the pandemic and ... firmly uphold our belief in freedom and democracy," Tsai said.

Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said Taiwan "sincerely welcomes" the support of G7 member-states via Sunday's communique, which read: "We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues."

"We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo and increase tensions," the communique said.

The mention was Taiwan's first name-check by the G7 since its predecessor, the G6, was set up in 1975, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA).

"Tensions heightened more recently over China's military maneuvers in the region that Taiwan has seen as provocative and efforts by Taiwan to deepen ties with the U.S. and assert its sovereignty," CNA's report said.

The communique also took aim at China over rights abuses in Xinjiang and a crackdown on political opposition and peaceful dissent in Hong Kong under a national security law imposed on the city by Beijing.

Leaders reach consensus

A senior U.S. official said the G7 leaders had reached a consensus on the need to adopt a common line over Beijing's rights abuses, as well as in trade disputes, with a focus on a rules-based international order and transparency.

A Chinese embassy spokesman in London said global decisions shouldn't be "dictated" by a small group of countries.

"There is only one system and one order in the world, that is, the international system with the United Nations at the core and the international order based on international law, not the so-called system and order advocated by a handful of countries," the spokesman said in a statement posted to the embassy website.

It described the G7 summit as a form of "pseudo-multilateralism serving the interests of a small clique or political bloc."

"China's internal affairs must not be interfered in, China's reputation must not be slandered, and China's interests must not be violated," it added.

"We will resolutely defend our national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and resolutely fight back against all kinds of injustices and infringements imposed on China."

The Global Times tabloid said differences between Washington and Brussels would allow China to "fundamentally thwart this 'united front' between the US and Europe."

"The U.S. has a strategic plan to maintain its hegemony and wants the West to bring China down together," said the ruling party-affilated daily.

"European countries have ideological differences with China but their economic relations with China are not only competitive but also have strategic needs for cooperation," it said

"China should not have any illusions toward the U.S., but it must differentiate other countries from the U.S."

"The U.S. is competing with China using a Cold War mentality. But in fact, it is falling into disarray, using its weak points to compete with China's advantages," said the daily.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan G7 leaders’ statements on China show "a growing convergence that wasn't there a few years ago."

"There is a broad view that China represents a significant challenge to the world's democracies," Sullivan said aboard Air Force One on its way to Brussels.

"Words like counter and compete were words coming out of the mouths of every leader in the room, not just Joe Biden," he said.

G7 leaders also sought to counter China's growing influence by offering developing countries an infrastructure plan that could rival Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative by supporting projects such as railways in Africa and wind farms in Asia.

Taiwan's 24 million inhabitants are consistently refused representation in global organizations at the insistence of the CCP, which has stepped up both military rhetoric and military incursions since Tsai's re-election in 2020.

The G7 communique is in line with U.S. policy as stated by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on April 30, namely that Washington opposes any unilateral action that would alter the status quo in Taiwan.

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, his administration has reaffirmed Washington's commitment to defend Taiwan amid ongoing incursions from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

Reported by Kay Lee for RFA's Cantonese Service, and by the Mandarin Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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