US sets dangerous example on Taiwan

Visit of Czech lawmaker to island follows hot on the heels of American health secretary and can only worsen already tense cross-strait relations

South China Morning Post
Date: 3 Sep, 2020

US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen during Azar’s Taiwan visit in August. Photo: Reuters

SCMP Editorial

Anything that is seen to shore up international support for Taiwan is anathema to Beijing. The angry reaction to the visit to the island by a Czech delegation led by senate president Milos Vystrcil is only to be expected.

Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule by force if necessary and has warned other countries against official exchanges that appear to lend support to Taiwanese sovereignty. In terms of perception under the one-China principle, Vystrcil’s address to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan, the first by a foreign politician in 45 years, crossed that line.

The timing too is provocative, coming on the heels of a visit by United States health secretary Alex Azar, the most senior American official visitor since Washington switched diplomatic recognition of China from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. Ahead of US presidential elections this was a politically reckless strategy, with Sino-US relations at their worst level amid rising rhetoric and military provocation and a heightened risk of confrontation.

The American visit emboldened the Czech delegation. Given Beijing’s reaction, it could exacerbate dangerous tensions if more countries or their senior officials were to follow crossing the line to establish some sort of official contact with Taiwan.    [FULL  STORY]

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