Exchange of messages on X between PM Modi and Taiwan President angers China | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Exchange of messages on X between PM Modi and Taiwan President angers China

Jun 06, 2024 11:19 PM IST

Chinese foreign ministry said Beijing opposes all official interactions between the Taiwan authorities and countries having diplomatic relations with it

NEW DELHI: China on Thursday protested to India over an exchange of messages between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Taiwan President Lai Ching-te, saying that it opposes all interactions between Taiwanese authorities and countries having diplomatic ties with Beijing.

Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te was among world leaders who greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on securing a third term. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te was among world leaders who greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on securing a third term. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)

Modi responded to a congratulatory message from Lai on his election victory on Wednesday, saying on X, formerly Twitter, that he looked forward to closer ties between India and Taiwan as “we work towards mutually beneficial economic and technological partnership”.

Lai was among world leaders who greeted Modi on securing a third term in a post on X. “We look forward to enhancing the fast-growing #Taiwan-#India partnership, expanding our collaboration on trade, technology & other sectors to contribute to peace & prosperity in the #IndoPacific,” he wrote.

When Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning was asked about this exchange of messages at a regular media briefing in Beijing, she replied that China “has protested to India” about this matter.

There was no immediate response from Indian officials to Mao’s comments.

Mao contended there is “no such thing as ‘President’ of the Taiwan region”, and said Beijing opposes all official interactions between the Taiwan authorities and countries having diplomatic relations with China. “There is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China,” she said.

Referring to Beijing’s “one-China” policy, Mao contended India has made “serious political commitments on this and is supposed to recognise, be alarmed about and resist the Taiwan authorities’ political calculations”.

However, India stopped referring to the “one-China” policy in official documents and pronouncements more than a decade ago after Chinese authorities issued stapled visas to residents of the border state of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Mao responded to another question on why China was protesting to India over somebody wishing an Indian leader by saying that India has diplomatic relations with China. “This position is very clear and India knows this well,” she said, adding that India should refrain from doing things that violate the “one-China” policy.

In marked contrast to the congratulatory message from Taiwan’s President, China’s top leadership is yet to issue a similar message to Modi. There was only an anodyne response from the Chinese foreign ministry on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election win at a media briefing on Wednesday, and this was followed by a congratulatory message from Chinese ambassador Xu Feihong in a post on X.

The Chinese foreign ministry said a “healthy and stable China-India relationship is in the interest of both countries, and conducive to the peace and development in this region”. China is ready to work with India on the fundamental interests of both countries and to “advance bilateral relations on a healthy and stable track”, the ministry said.

Xu, in his post, said China looks forward to joint efforts with India for a “sound and stable” relationship in line with the interests and expectations of both countries. There was no acknowledgement of these messages from the Indian side.

India-China ties are currently at their lowest ebb in six decades over the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which began in May 2020. The Indian side has dismissed China’s assertion that the border issue be put in its “appropriate place” in the overall relationship and external affairs minister S Jaishankar has insisted bilateral ties cannot be normalised without peace and tranquillity on the border.

Also Read: Seeing India-China ties through Taiwan | Opinion

In the past few weeks, Modi has mentioned Taiwan at least twice in public remarks – once, during the laying of the foundation stone on March 13 for the Tata Electronics’ semiconductor fabrication facility at Dholera in Gujarat, which is being developed in collaboration with Taiwan’s Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (PSMC) with an investment of up to 91,000 crore, and in a condolence message posted on X after Taiwan was hit by an earthquake on April 3.

In the past, it was rare for Indian leaders to mention Taiwan in public remarks.

Kuan-Ting Chen, a Taiwanese MP and member of a parliamentary panel for foreign and national defence, noted Modi’s response to Lai’s message and said in a post on that it marked a “new chapter in #Taiwan-#India relations”. He added, “As a legislator, I feel that in the coming decades, Taiwan and India, as leading nations in AI and IT, are natural allies.”

During 2023, two-way trade between India and Taiwan was worth $8.2 billion, making India the 16th largest trading partner for Taiwan. Taiwan’s exports to India touched $6 billion, marking 13% growth and positioning India as the 12th largest export market.

Taiwan is home to some 3,000 students and the island has plans to open its third representative office in Mumbai later this year.

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