Ukraine and Taiwan build common ties defying Chinese pressure

Recently, members of the Ukrainian parliament created a cross-parliamentary caucus to promote economic and cultural exchange with Taiwan.

The head of the Ukrainian parliament’s foreign policy committee, Oleksandr Merezhko, praised Taiwan’s “quick” response to the Russian invasion.

“The Taiwanese parliament very quickly accepted a resolution in support of Ukraine and they also imposed strict sanctions on Russia, which was really helpful for us,” Merezhko, who initiated the caucus, told DW.

“Taiwan also offered millions of US dollars in humanitarian aid to support Ukraine,” he said.

Russia, China built relations in tense times

Before the invasion of Russia Ukraine On 24 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping met and declared a “no borders” friendship between their countries.

As the war progresses, China has walked a fine line, refraining from condemning the invasion without explicitly backing it.

In a statement issued after a meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Ukraine’s top diplomat Dimitro Kuleba on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, the Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing was “committed to dialogue” for peace in Ukraine. Is. And that “countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“We will always stand on the side of peace, and will continue to play a constructive role,” it said.

According to Beijing’s press statement, Foreign Minister Kuleba said Ukraine “values ​​the international situation and the significant influence of China,” and “expects the Chinese side to play an important role in mitigating the current crisis”.

However, MP Merezhko said Beijing has always supported Moscow behind the scenes.

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“China was waiting and seeing if Russia would manage to take Kyiv in three days. To me, this is a sign that they are hoping that Russia will overthrow the government in Ukraine and establish a puppet regime.” would do,” he said, calling unlimited partnership “totally unacceptable.”

Merezhko also accused Beijing of spreading Russian narratives through Chinese state media outlets, for example by blaming the United States for the war. China also continues to buy Russian energy, which Merezhko said was funding a Russian war machine.

“China has proved to be a friend of our enemy,” he said.

‘Reflection’ of Ukraine War Forces in Taiwan

Claire Wang, a Taiwanese legislator who participated in a virtual meeting with Ukraine’s pro-Taiwan caucus on August 25, told DW that the war in Ukraine has prompted Taiwan to reflect on its strategic position.

“Taiwan is a very small country and like Ukraine, we face a very unfriendly neighbour. I think it is good to establish such a group with Ukraine,” she said.

Beijing puts pressure on countries that want to build strong, informal ties with Taiwan, which it considers Chinese territory that will one day be reunited with the mainland.

Under the “One China” policy, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is recognized as the “sole legal government of China”. However, the policy does not explicitly mean that the countries recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan, creating a diplomatic gray area.

Ukraine recognizes the One China policy, as has the United States and other Western countries.

Merezhko said Beijing was trying to prevent pro-Taiwan Ukrainian lawmakers from establishing closer ties with Taipei. He said the Chinese Foreign Ministry has also submitted a formal complaint to Ukraine’s in-charge d’Affaires in Beijing.

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“We have the right to form our own groups devoted to a pending subject and the leadership of the parliament should openly declare it during a parliamentary meeting,” Merezhko said.

“Unfortunately, the announcement has not happened, and it has been over a month. I suspect it is because of Chinese influence,” he said.

Taiwan reaches Europe

Parliamentary delegations from Germany, the United Kingdom and Denmark are expected to visit Taiwan in the coming months, despite China’s aggressive response to Taiwan’s growing engagement with other countries.

“Taiwan has received an unprecedented level of European support over the past two years and, in the process, parliamentary diplomacy was one of the most valuable tools,” Zusa Anna Ferenzi, a former political adviser to the European Parliament, told DW.

“The grouping indicates a growing awareness of Taiwan as a fellow democracy that faces threats even from a hostile neighbor, threatening the very existence of the peoples of both Taiwan and Ukraine,” she said.

Merezhko said it would be a “normal” thing for Ukrainian lawmakers to visit Taiwan.

“We both democracies are fighting for our existence and when we support each other, it makes us both stronger,” he said. “It makes democracies around the world stronger.”

The MP also called for the establishment of a “Representative Office of Taipei”, a de facto embassy in Kyiv and vice versa.

“I am in favor of achieving an international agreement with Taiwan, which is similar to the one that has been concluded between Poland and Taiwan. I am in favor of developing all kinds of ties, including cultural, humanitarian and economic ties. I I want to see Taiwan playing a role in the reconstruction of Ukraine.”

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