Under the One-China Policy, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the one that rules the mainland, claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
A delegation of three United States lawmakers made a stopover on Sunday in Taipei, where they announced Washington would donate 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan.
PRC officials did not take the visit lightly.
BEIJING — Irritated over the visit, China said the act could embolden “separatist forces” on the island, and rages over attempts to recognize it as an independent nation.
The donation came as a response to Taiwan’s claim that China is hampering its efforts to secure vaccines, saying it is part of Beijing’s campaign to isolate the island.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Illinois), who made a three-hour stop in Taiwan with fellow Democrat Christopher Coons (Delaware), and Republican Dan Sullivan (Alaska), said their visit underscores bipartisan U.S. support for the democratic island that Beijing claims as its own renegade territory. Taiwan faces a severe vaccine shortage and has geopolitical significance as a flashpoint in U.S.-China relations.
“I’m here to tell you that the United States will not let you stand alone,” said Duckworth at the airport after landing on a U.S. military transport plane.
“We will be by your side to make sure the people of Taiwan have what they need to get to the other side of the pandemic and beyond.”
Taiwan’s first tranche of 25 million doses from the United states will be sent through COVAX, a U.N.-backed program to distribute vaccines to low and middle-income countries.
The island of 24 million people is desperate for vaccines after a sudden outbreak that started in late April caught authorities by surprise. Japan shipped 1.2 million doses to Taiwan on Friday. It skipped the COVAX process in favor of speed. It was unclear when the 750,000 American doses would arrive.
China “expresses strong dissatisfaction (toward the visit) and has lodged a solemn representation,” says Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
He has urged the United States to “be prudent when dealing with the Taiwan question and avoid sending any erroneous signals to separatist forces” on the island.
China’s patriots who were online were not satisfied of the diplomatic overtures from its foreign ministry. “Saying that is the same as saying nothing,” one Weibo user commented Monday.
“You should send two fighter jets to escort them!” another user replied.
In recent years, China’s diplomats and official propaganda have encouraged assertive and belligerent form of nationalism. Officials tweet insults and conspiracy theories about diplomatic rivals. They gloat at the chaos caused by protests and coronavirus outbreaks abroad.
However, during a PRC meeting last week, President Xi Jin Ping called for a change in tone from China, urging the nation to show a softer face abroad that will cultivate a “reliable, admirable and respectable image”. (RA/Headline PH)
Featured image: A delegation comprised of Senators Tammy Duckworth, Christopher Coons and Dan Sullivan pose for photographs with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen and other officials following their arrival at the Songshan Airport in Taipei on 06 June 2021.