Taiwan is a matter of life or death for all Chinese. We must be prepared to do anything to defend our sovereignty, said former Chinese ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai. In an interview conducted by Hong Kong media, the diplomat emphasized that “there is no room for concessions.”
71-year-old Cui Tiankai is one of the most important Chinese diplomats in recent years and the longest-serving Chinese ambassador to the United States – he was from 2013-2021. On Monday, an interview with him conducted in the online program “Talking Post with Yonden Lhatoo” created by the Hong Kong newspaper “South China Morning Post” was published. The interview was conducted just before the meeting of Presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden in San Francisco.
“It’s a matter of life or death for China”
Cui Sankai commented on the current Sino-US relations, stating that they are “too complex” to be reset by a single meeting of the leaders of the two powers. He particularly emphasized the importance of the Taiwan issue for these relations – a democratically governed island that Beijing considers part of Chinese territory and openly declares its intention to take it over – peacefully or by force.
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– Taiwan is a matter of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity. So this is something of a life or death issue for China. (…) There is no room for concessions here, he said. – It is a matter of life or death for all Chinese. So we must be prepared to do anything to defend our national sovereignty, emphasized Cui Tiankai.
Cui stressed that Beijing will continue to strive to unify all of China – or in Beijing’s understanding, take control of Taiwan – through “peaceful means.” He added that as long as the one-China policy is adhered to, “everything else is negotiable,” but warned there are “limits” to how much China can be “provoked” on the issue. The one-China policy, officially followed by most countries in the world, means that these countries recognize the existence of only one Chinese state. It implies the need to break off formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan in order to maintain relations with Beijing.
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Joe Biden’s meeting with Xi Jinping
Cui Tiankai also assessed the current state of relations between the US and China. – Both countries are still in this perhaps historic stage or period where they are redefining the relationship or finding the right way to deal with each other in the future. It’s not over yet, he said.
– In the case of such complex relationships, we may need some time for this. The real strength of this relationship is that sooner or later both countries always find ways to overcome difficulties and move their relations forward, he added.-
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Is Taiwan China?
The issue of Taiwan’s nationality is currently one of the most inflammatory issues in world politics.
In the past, inhabited by people for many thousands of years, Taiwan belonged to China twice: first for 200 years, from the 17th to the 19th century, and secondly for 4 years from the end of World War II to 1949. Then, the defeated Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek fled with about two million Chinese to the island of Taiwan and announced that he was temporarily moving the capital of China there. Control over the rest of China, with the capital in Beijing, was taken over by the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong.
Since then, there has been tension between the authorities in Beijing and the authorities in the capital of Taiwan – Taipei. Initially, both saw themselves as the only legal government of the Chinese state. Currently, Beijing still considers Taiwan its province and is trying to regain control over it, but a new Taiwanese identity and a sense of difference from mainland Chinese are increasingly visible in Taiwan.
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South Morning China Post, tvn24.pl
Main photo source: China News Service via Getty Images