The Chinese regime is complaining about a visit by three U.S. senators to Taiwan on a C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft. What the Americans said was a humanitarian visit to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, Beijing’s media mouthpiece portrayed to the Chinese-reading world as a provocation and a trick by Taipei to maintain its rule.
“What [the Taipei authorities] want to do most is to divert people’s attention … from the conflict between DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) government and Taiwanese people to the conflict across the strait,” Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times stated in commentary on June 6, without mentioning what is the public’s dissatisfaction with the DPP.
Recent approval ratings for the Taiwanese president differ between Taiwan’s pro-Beijing and other press. Beijing-friendly Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS said on May 17 that President Tsai Ing-wen captured 41 percent support from the people, while progressive magazine Global Views reported that Tsai held 55.3 percent support on May 10.
On June 7, Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, asserted that the U.S. senators’ visit was “sending the wrong signals to Taiwan’s separatist forces,” while the Chinese Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council in Beijing said that “the nature of the Taiwanese government is pursuing independence.” Talk of separation and secession has been considered treasonous by the ruling communist party since Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists fled to Taiwan as the communists took control of the mainland during the Chinese civil war.
The Chinese regime wants to claim the island as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution.
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Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.), and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) visited Taiwan on June 6 and brought the news that the United States would give the democratic island 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses—part of President Joe Biden’s move to share tens of millions of jabs globally.
Duckworth said the visit underscored bipartisan U.S. support for Taiwan against Beijing’s threats of invasion. The island has been suffering a COVID-19 outbreak in recent weeks and faces a vaccine shortage.
“We will be by your side to make sure the people of Taiwan have what they need to get to the other side of the pandemic and beyond,” Duckworth said at the airport after landing.
Su Tze-Yun, senior analyst at the Taiwan Institute of National Defense and Security Research, told The Epoch Times on June 6 that the main purpose of the senators’ visit was “humanitarian assistance to Taiwan” in its time of need.
He added that their arrival in a military transport aircraft was a signal of “support Taiwan’s self-defense” to “deter the Chinese regime’s military adventures,” Su added.
Doong Sy-chi, deputy chief executive of Taipei-based Taiwan Thinktank, told The Epoch Times on June 7 that the senators’ visit was the United States giving back after Taiwan supported Americans by supplying facial masks and other medical materials when the U.S. suffered its outbreak and lacked these goods.
“The allied countries who cherish democratic values will support each other when they see the other party suffering from the pandemic epidemic,” Doong said. “Not only the United States but Japan also sent COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.”
Furthermore, Doong pointed out that maintaining peace and safety in the Taiwan Strait is related to the security of Japan, South Korea, the United States, and other Indo-Pacific countries.
Prof. Feng Chongyi, a China expert at the University of Technology, Sydney, in Australia, told The Epoch Times on June 7 that the senators’ visit was a display of Washington’s determination to protect Taiwan from the communist aggression coming from Beijing.
“China is accelerating its plan to unify Taiwan by force. The senators’ visit and the warplane are actions to contain China’s ambition,” Feng said.
Regarding the allegation by Global Times, Doong pushed back against the Chinese Communist Party’s rhetoric.
“Nobody in Taiwan wants to use the pandemic to seek political targets. It’s the Chinese regime trying to unify Taiwan by using the worsening outbreak,” he said.
In the past weeks, Taiwan reported that the Beijing regime had blocked the island’s attempt to purchase vaccines from Europe. The regime has also launched psychological warfare efforts to sow division in Taiwanese society during their COVID-19 outbreak, and sent warplanes and aircraft carriers to the sensitive areas to threaten Taiwan.
Luo Ya contributed to this report.