Taiwan’s diplomatic relations do not depend on China’s mood, says Taipei

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) - The Taiwan government’s ongoing push to improve ties with diplomatic allies and other countries is not dependent on China’s mood, says Foreign Minister David Lin.

The Taiwan government’s ongoing push to improve ties with diplomatic allies and other countries is not dependent on China’s mood, Foreign Minister David Lin said Wednesday.

In a move to refute criticism launched by opposition presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen, who blasted the current administration’s foreign policy, Lin told reporters that there is no so-called diplomatic truce between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and no such thing as Taiwan's "diplomats not knowing what they're fighting for," as claimed by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate.

Despite thawing cross-strait relations, the minister disclosed that pressure from China has continued to hinder Taiwan’s push in enhancing the nation’s international space over the past years.

For instance, Taiwan successfully opened a second representative office in Indonesia, in Surabaya, last week; yet China had been pushing the Southeast Asian country not to approve the office for some time, Lin said.

Similar Chinese pressure could also be seen during the signing of a mutual marine patrol cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the Philippines in overlapping waters last month and Myanmar’s opening of its first trade office in Taipei this June, he added.

Lin stressed that the Foreign Ministry’s mission to promote Taiwan’s international space has never been reliant on China’s mood or goodwill.

“Facing Chinese pressure, we as diplomats will not back off and will continue to fight for the country’s interests while safeguarding national dignity,” he said.

Lin was referring to the comments made by DPP Chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai who criticised the Ma administration's “diplomatic truce” with China during a presidential candidate debate on live television on Sunday.

In the debate, Tsai said Ma's policy has led to Taiwan's "diplomats not knowing what they're fighting for" and that now Taiwan's diplomatic relations largely depend on China's mood.

Lin on Wednesday praised the success of the "viable diplomacy" the current administration adopted in May 2008.

As of today, a total of 161 countries and territories have entered into visa-waiver or landing-visa programmes with Taiwan, he said.

Meanwhile, the minister gave assurances that the R.O.C.’s diplomatic ties with its 22 allies have remained strong and stable despite the claim made by a ruling Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker earlier this week.

Alex Tsai said that if the DPP wins the January presidential election, Taiwan could lose up to 18 allies to Beijing.

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