Zhu Fenglian, from the Taiwan Affairs Bureau, was slamming the new US arms sale in Taipei when she was asked an embarrassing question. Caught off guard, it took her several minutes to respond with “pre-packaged” answers. Taiwanese politician notes that Beijing has not yet considered the quasi war scenario, and its press officers cannot act independently.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Yesterday, a reporter’s question unnerves Zhu Fenglian, spokeswoman for Taiwan Affairs Office of the Chinese State Council, if China and Taiwan are in a state of "quasi war".
The official was answering a series of questions about the US approval of a new arms package for the island, the second in a week, worth a total of US$ 4.2 billion dollars.
The issue began with Chao Chien-min, dean of social sciences at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, who had said that China and Taiwan had entered a “quasi-war status”.
When asked about it, Zhu kept flipping through her notes in silence for 30 seconds before awkwardly asking reporters to move on to other questions first.
She returned to the question only after several minutes. Checking her notes frequently, she said that China was prepared to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Zhu went on to accuse Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of President Tsai ing-wen and the pro-independence camp of colluding with foreign forces, which she said was the main cause of cross-strait tensions.
Cited by the Apple Daily, Wang Ting-yu, a representative of the DPP, noted that Zhu’s awkward reaction stems from the fact that the quasi war scenario was not a topic include in her list of "pre-packaged" answers.
Chinese press officers cannot answer questions without authorisation and must follow guidelines from their superiors. If they fail to do so, they face heavy punishment, including dismissal.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently put more pressure on President Tsai, who is seen as pro-independence. For Beijing, Taiwan is a "rebel province", and Chinese leaders have never ruled out using force to retake it.
The island has been de facto independent from China since 1949 when Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces fled the mainland after losing the civil war against the Communists. Taiwan views itself as the heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.