Chinese official dismisses comparisons between China and Russia

Zhu Haiquan, head of the political department at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, dismissed comparisons between China’s attitude towards Taiwan and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a letter to the editor published in the publication Washington Post on Friday.

“The Taiwan issue and the Ukraine crisis are completely different in nature,” Zhu argued. “Ukraine is a sovereign state and the Ukraine crisis is a conflict between sovereign countries, while Taiwan is part of China’s territory and the Taiwan issue is an internal matter of China.”

Zhu’s letter came after Taiwan’s US representative, Bi-khim Hsiao, wrote an op-ed that was published in the post Office on March 25, who expressed Taiwan’s solidarity with Ukraine and compared Chinese aggression against Taiwan to Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Hsiao had written, “Though there are clear historical and geopolitical differences, one commonality stands out: both Ukraine and Taiwan have long endured the dangers of living alongside a belligerent, authoritarian neighbor.”

“The determination and resilience shown by the Ukrainian people after the Russian invasion inspired Taiwan and reinforced our commitment to defending our freedom,” she said, adding:

Whatever claims and threats the Chinese authorities make about Taiwan, the ironclad reality is that Taiwan was never a part of the PRC. Taiwan’s future must be decided peacefully and democratically. Despite all the PRC’s military might, any attempted invasion will not break the solidarity and resilience of the Taiwanese people.

Zhu replied to Hsiao, “Taiwan has always been and always will be an inalienable part of China’s territory. It is not a sovereign state,” he wrote in his letter to the editor.

China has sided with Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, contradicting its own position of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. At the same time, she has argued that her relationship with Taiwan is an “internal matter.”

China, under the Chinese Communist Party-led People’s Republic of China (PRC), claims that Taiwan, a self-governing, democratically-ruled island nation, is part of its territory. The US recognizes China’s position on Taiwan, but does not recognize Taiwan as part of China.

Although the US switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to the communist government in 1979, the US enacted the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which authorized a robust informal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan, as well as the provision of equipment via military sales to Taiwan it could oppose one resist invasion by China.

Both China and Taiwan want to see a peaceful resolution to the dispute, but Chinese leaders say they intend to “unify” Taiwan with the mainland, using military force if necessary.

China has stepped up its pressure campaign on Taiwan over the past six years to oust its remaining diplomatic allies and prevent its participation in global bodies like the World Health Assembly.

China has also stepped up its military pressure on Taiwan, flying a record number of air raids into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone over the past year.

Chen Ming-tong, director-general of Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, told a recent meeting of Taiwan’s legislature that Russia’s poor performance in its invasion of Ukraine could raise China’s concerns about an attack on Taiwan.

“The current situation has given China a lot to think about as the US has given Ukraine a lot of support even without a TRA-like law,” he said on March 29. “The conflict in Ukraine served as a warning to Beijing not to start a war.”

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