China’s Ex-Envoy Delivers ‘Life-or-Death’ Warning to US Over Taiwan

China’s Ex-Envoy Delivers ‘Life-or-Death’ Warning to US Over Taiwan
China’s Ex-Envoy Delivers ‘Life-or-Death’ Warning to US Over Taiwan
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Taiwan is “a life-or-death” question for Beijing, with no room for compromise on the status of what Beijing regards as part of its territory, China’s former envoy to Washington, DC, has warned the United States.

Cui Tiankai, China’s longest-serving ambassador to the US until he stepped down in 2021, made the comments in an interview with the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post published on Monday.

Cui’s comments come against the backdrop of recent face-to-face talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in San Francisco, and as Taiwan prepares for a general election next year in which the question of relations with China will be at the ahead.

“The Taiwan question is a matter of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity. So this is something like a life-or-death question for China…there’s no room for concession,” said Cui, now officially retired.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, although the Chinese Communist Party has never governed the self-ruled island during the seven decades it has held power in Beijing.

In California, Xi issued three concrete demands to Biden on Taiwan, which hadn’t been seen before in a statement during a high-level leaders’ dialogue between the US and China.

He told Biden: “The US side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting ‘Taiwan independence,’ stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification.”

Cui further highlighted China’s readiness to do anything to defend its national sovereignty, reiterating the gravity of the situation from Beijing’s perspective.

But Cui also mentioned Beijing’s willingness to pursue peaceful means for reunification, provided its “one China principle” was respected. The position differs from the US’s “one China policy,” which formally recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei but doesn’t support Chinese territorial claims to Taiwan.

Ambassador to USA, Cui Tiankai attends BookExpo America 2015 at Jacob Javits Center on May 27, 2015 in New York City. Cui has called Taiwan a “life-or-death question for China.
John Lamparski/Wire Image

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu told Newsweek that the island was “not subordinate to the People’s Republic of China.”

“This is a status quo recognized by the international community, and China should recognize this fact,” he said.

Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, said the repeated emphasis on China’s “red line” on Taiwan served more as rhetoric, given Taiwan’s official position on not declaring independence.

“China keeps repeating that there is a red line. But Taiwan will not declare independence. Then, what is the discussion about the red line? It looked like this was a propaganda talking point,” Wu told Newsweek.

He said both the US and China appeared to be entrenched in their respective positions on Taiwan without offering new perspectives.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Chinas ExEnvoy Delivers LifeorDeath Warning Taiwan

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