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At the Roundtable Discussion with People from Various Sectors of the UK, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang Emphasised: Foiling the Separatist Attempts Seeking “Taiwan Independence” Helps Safeguard Peace and Stability in the Taiwan Strait; Observing the One-China Principle Will Ensure the Smooth Development of the China-UK Relations
2022-08-15 06:29

On August 12th, the Chinese Embassy in the UK held a roundtable discussion with representatives from various sectors of the UK. At the roundtable discussion, Ambassador Zheng Zeguang stated, in a comprehensive way, the solemn position of the Chinese side on the visit by the US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, explained the key points of the white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era” recently released by the Chinese side, and exchanged views with the attendees on the China-UK relations. Other senior diplomats from the Embassy also gave briefings at the discussion.

Ambassador Zheng laid out the facts regarding Pelosi’s visit to China’s Taiwan region. He pointed out that the provocative move by Pelosi, regardless of China’s strong opposition and repeated warnings, seriously violated the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-US joint communiqués, emboldened the “Taiwan independence” forces, and seriously infringed upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Against the malicious provocation from the US side and the “Taiwan independence” forces, it is only natural that the Chinese side will take necessary measures in response. The Chinese military drills in the waters and air around the Taiwan Island and the eight countermeasures that China announced against the US are aimed at opposing interference from the US in China’s internal affairs, restraining the separatist attempts of “Taiwan independence” forces, safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity and upholding the peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. These measures are legitimate, reasonable, proportionate, forceful, justified and beyond reproach.

The root cause of the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait lies in the moves of the US side and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces who constantly attempted to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. Over the years, the US has been playing the “Taiwan card” to contain China by approving arms sales to Taiwan, upgrading its relations with Taiwan, and hollowing out the one-China principle. The Taiwan authorities led by the Democratic Progressive Party have refused to recognize the 1992 Consensus that embodies the one-China principle, and have gone all out to advance “de-sinicisation” and promote “incremental independence”. Now the US side and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces worked in collusion to orchestrate Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, which directly resulted in a new round of tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The US side and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces are perpetrators who must bear full responsibility for their wrongdoings.

Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory since ancient times. In history, Taiwan was twice lost and regained. The first time was during the colonial expansion of Western countries. Taiwan was occupied by the Dutch for 38 years before it was recovered by China’s national hero Zheng Chenggong. The second time was during the age when imperial powers were carving up the world. Taiwan had been under the occupation of Japan for 50 years until it was regained when the Chinese people won the war of resistance against Japanese aggression. Although the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been in prolonged political antagonism since 1949, China has never been divided, Taiwan has remained part of China’s territory, and the historical and legal fact that the two sides of the Strait belong to one and only China has never changed. The Chinese people always value national sovereignty and territorial integrity more than their lives and will firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity at any cost. “Taiwan independence” means war and will lead to a dead end. The one and only future of Taiwan lies in reunification with the motherland. Opposing “Taiwan independence” is meant to avoid war. By foiling “Taiwan independence” attempts, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait will be safeguarded. The Chinese people cherish peace the most. We are defending peace, upholding stability and promoting development every day.

The right way to handle relations between China and the US, two major countries, is to respect each other, coexist in peace and avoid confrontation. The Chinese side has made enormous efforts to promote the healthy and steady development of the China-US relations, but we will never sit by and do nothing about the provocative moves of the US to undermine China’s core interests. No country can expect cooperation from China while harming China’s interests. The suspension of China-US cooperation in certain areas will not affect China’s commitments to the international community on issues such as climate change. China has the best records in fulfilling its pledges to the world. We urge the US to return to the right track of the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués, deliver the “five noes” commitment made by the US President (i.e. not seek a “new Cold War”; not seek to change China’s system; the revitalization of its alliances is not against China; not support “Taiwan independence”; not look for conflict with China), stop playing the “Taiwan card”, sever official ties and military cooperation with Taiwan, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, and stop going further down the path of creating crisis.

Ambassador Zheng pointed out that on 10 August, China released the white paper titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era”. The white paper outlines in detail the policy and proposition of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government on realising national reunification in the new era, and fully demonstrates the firm will and strong determination of the CPC and the Chinese people to pursue national reunification. Ambassador Zheng highlighted three key points in the white paper:

First, the one-China principle is a basic norm in international relations and must not be distorted, obscured or hollowed out. The connotation of the one-China principle is crystal-clear, i.e. there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China. The Government of the PRC is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Countries having diplomatic relations with China should not have any form of official ties with Taiwan. The one-China principle is a prevailing international consensus and widely accepted as a basic norm in international relations. It is affirmed in UNGA Resolution 2758. It is the political foundation for interactions between China and all countries in the world. To date, 181 countries have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle. Recently, more than 170 countries and many international organizations have reiterated their firm commitment to the one-China principle. The applicability of this principle is universal, unconditional and indisputable. Certain countries have unilaterally added preconditions and provisos to the one-China policy in an attempt to distort, obscure and hollow out their one-China commitment. This is illegal, null and void.

Second, the CPC has always been committed to realizing complete national reunification. The wishful thinking of “Taiwan independence” is doomed to fail. Resolving the Taiwan question and realising complete national reunification is the shared aspiration of all the Chinese people and a commitment and a historical mission of the CPC. Peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems are our fundamental guidelines for resolving the Taiwan question. Embodying the Chinese wisdom - we thrive by embracing each other - they take full account of Taiwan’s realities and are conducive to long-term stability in Taiwan after reunification. They are the first choice of the CPC and the Chinese government in resolving the Taiwan question, as they best serve the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan. We are ready to create vast space for peaceful reunification; but we will leave no room for separatist activities for “Taiwan independence” in any form. We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts; but, if separatist elements or external forces make provocations or even cross our red line, we will have no choice but to take resolute measures.

Third, the complete reunification of China is a process that cannot be halted. It will benefit both China and the wider world. China’s complete reunification is driven by the history and culture of the Chinese nation that are geared toward national reunification and against division. It is also determined by the momentum towards and circumstances surrounding China’s national rejuvenation. Never before have the Chinese people been so close to, confident in, and capable of achieving the goal of national rejuvenation. The same is true when it comes to our goal of complete national reunification. The Taiwan question arose as a result of weakness and chaos in the Chinese nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. The wheel of history is set towards national reunification, and it will not be stopped by any individual or force. Peaceful reunification across the Taiwan Strait is of benefit not only to the Chinese nation, but to all peoples and the international community as a whole. China’s reunification will bring more development opportunities to all countries. It will create greater momentum for prosperity and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

Ambassador Zheng pointed out that the British side took part in the joint statement concerning Taiwan issued by G7 and the European Union and made abominable remarks after Pelosi’s visit. What the British side did disregarded the facts, confounded right and wrong, lent support to the US and the “Taiwan independence” forces, and made unwarranted remarks about China’s justified measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The international community is ashamed for these moves and the Chinese people are indignant. The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly condemns these words and deeds of the UK side on Taiwan and has lodged representations with the UK side in both Beijing and London.

The Taiwan issue has always been a sensitive issue at the core of China-UK relations. China and the UK began to explore the establishment of diplomatic relations in the early 1950s, but it was not until 1972 that the diplomatic relations were upgraded to ambassadorial level, the central part of which is about the Taiwan issue. Only after the UK clearly recognized the Chinese government’s position that Taiwan is a province of the People’s Republic of China, decided to revoke its official representative office in Taiwan, recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and promised to maintain only unofficial relationship with Taiwan that official diplomatic relations between China and the UK were established. This history must never be forgotten and the UK should honour its pledges.

At present, the United States and the “Taiwan independence” forces keep provoking. In the face of this, the question of Taiwan has become a “touchstone” for the healthy development of Sino-British relations in the new era. The trans-Atlantic special relationship is a matter between the UK and the US. It should not be used to undermine the core interests of China. On the Taiwan question, a major issue of principle, there is no reason for the UK to disregard the fact and “play with fire” together with the US. Lessons from the past must be learned. Certain British politicians often put the Taiwan question on a par with the Ukraine issue, clamouring to “help Taiwan to defend itself”. Some lawmakers even talked about plans to follow up with visits to Taiwan. Such words and deeds are extremely irresponsible and detrimental. Any move that violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the joint communiqué or challenges the red line of the Chinese side will bring serious consequences to the China-UK relations. No one should have miscalculations on this. It is hoped that people of insight from all walks of life in the UK will join hands to oppose the irresponsible and detrimental remarks and moves of certain politicians. The Chinese side urges the decision makers in the UK to take concrete actions to abide by its commitment to the one-China principle, not to develop any form of official ties or military cooperation with Taiwan, stop arguing for the United States and the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and stop making any remarks or engaging in any activities that interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Ambassador Zheng emphasised that in the past 50 years since the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations between China and the UK, the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries have brought enormous benefits to the peoples of both countries. These outcomes are hard-won and must be cherished. China-UK relations are now at an important juncture. Here in the UK, the Conservative Party will elect a new leader and the country will have a new prime minister. All the relevant parties are following closely the trajectory of the UK’s policy on China. Around the world, severe challenges, such as the pandemic, economic downturn, energy shortages and climate change, remain. Under such circumstances, China and the UK should greatly strengthen rather than weaken cooperation. The two sides should follow the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, adhere to the general direction of dialogue and cooperation, and join hands to address common challenges. This is the right choice that conforms to the fundamental interests of the peoples of both countries. We are willing to make joint efforts with people of insight from all walks of life in the UK to oppose division and confrontation, advance dialogue and cooperation, and maintain the healthy and stable development of China-UK relations.

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