Beijing cites ‘ASEAN centrality’ against US, UK, Australia defense pact
Riyaz ul Khaliq
China hit back at US President Joe Biden on Friday, calling Taiwan an “inalienable part” of the people’s republic on which there will be “no compromise.”
“The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. On issues that bear on China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and other core interests, no one shall expect China to make any compromise or trade-offs,” Chinse Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news conference in Beijing.
China’s strong reaction came after Biden said Thursday that the US would come to Taiwan’s defense should China attack the island nation.
“No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Wang, urging Washington to “earnestly abide by the one-China principle and stipulations in the three China-US joint communique.”
Beijing claims Taiwan, an island nation of 24 million people, as its “breakaway province,” while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949 and has diplomatic relations with at least 15 countries.
Biden’s statement came in the wake of recent increased Chinese air activity above the Taiwan Strait which was criticized by the US, while Beijing insisted against interference in “China’s internal issues.”
But Beijing asked Washington to “avoid sending wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces, lest it should seriously damage China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
The US formally recognized China in 1979 and shifted diplomatic relations from Taipei to Beijing, including Taiwan as part of mainland China.
The Taiwan Relations Act, a 1979 law, has guided US relations with Taiwan. Relations have also been informed by what is known as the Three Communiques, which are bilateral agreements with China.
Asked the oppression of ethnic Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang province, Wang said such accusations as “lies.”
“A small number of Western countries, based on disinformation, rumors and lies, keep attacking and maligning China on issues relating to Xinjiang and other matters and interfering in China’s domestic affairs with human rights as a disguise,” he said.
He added that Cuba delivered a joint statement on behalf of 62 countries at the Third Committee of the 76th Session of United Nations General Assembly, stressing that issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are China’s “internal affairs that brook no interference by any external forces and expressed support for China’s implementation of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong.”
Beijing poses ‘ASEAN centrality’ against AUKUS
Calling out the troika of the US, UK, and Australia for a new defense pact called AUKUS, under which Australia will get nuclear-powered submarines, Wang termed the “justification” behind the pact as “feeble.”
“Their feeble argument cannot address the concerns of regional countries and the wider international community,” said Wang, referring to parties of the pact.
“This Anglo-Saxon ‘clique’ created by the three countries is a typical military bloc that smacks of obsolete Cold War zero-sum mentality,” he said.
Wang said the move to export nuclear submarines to Australia was taken “out of geopolitical and economic considerations.”
“They did so in violation of the object and purpose of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, creating risks of the proliferation of nuclear materials and technology,” he said, calling the troika “typical rules-breakers.”
“It is a reflection of the three countries’ obsession with force,” he said.
Wang said the trilateral cooperation is “bound to undermine efforts to build a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Southeast Asia.”
“Where is their respect for ASEAN centrality?” he said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.