Fiji: A cake decorated with the Taiwanese flag sparks Beijing’s wrath
Taiwan accuses two Chinese diplomats of beating up one of their officials in Fiji during the celebrations of Taiwan’s national day. Chinese Foreign Ministry claims its officials were provoked since such celebrations violated the one-China principle. The tension between the two countries continues to rise. Poll finds that most Taiwanese do not believe that war will break out.
Suva (AsiaNews) – Taiwan has accused two Chinese diplomats of attacking a staff member of the Office in Fiji during a party to celebrate Taiwan’s national holiday. The spark for the incident appears to be a cake decorated with Taiwan’s flag (the flag of the Republic of China).
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu yesterday said that his government provided evidence of the attack to Fijian police and government authorities.
The incident took place on 8 October, when Taiwanese diplomatic personnel were celebrating in a large hotel in Suva, the capital of the South Pacific nation.
According to Taipei, just outside the reception hall, two Chinese officials attacked and beat up one of their officials, who had asked them to leave because the event was private and they had not been invited.
China has rejected Taiwan’s version of events. On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian that the reception was a clear violation of the "one-China principle".
For Beijing, the Taiwan Office in Fiji is guilty of displaying a "self-styled" national flag, also on a cake, and of provoking Chinese agents who went to the place of the celebrations to "fulfill their official duties”.
Beijing does not acknowledge the diplomatic status of Taiwan offices abroad. Despite this, Taiwan pointed out that for Fijian authorities considers the case a "diplomatic incident".
For mainland China, Taiwan is a rebel province, and has not ruled out the use of 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 with the Communists, claiming to be the legitimate heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.
In recent months, Beijing’s pressure has increased against Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has been accused of pursuing a pro-independence agenda.
Since 16 September, Chinese military aircrafts have violated Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on 21 days; these incursions are in addition to those carried out by naval forces of the People’s Liberation Army.
According to a report published in the South China Morning Post on Sunday, Beijing is boosting its missile bases along the coasts of Fujian and Zhejiang in preparation for a possible invasion of Taiwan.
However, most Taiwanese are not taking this seriously. A poll released today by the National Policy Foundation, which is linked to the pro-China Kuomintang, Taiwan’s main opposition party, shows that 59.5 per cent of respondents do not believe that the mainland and the island will go to war.