The Chinese embassy has reportedly demanded an Israel-based news outlet remove its interview with Taiwan’s foreign minister, and failure to do so may result in Beijing downgrading its ties with Israel.
Wu said that the Chinese Communist Party would sometimes “use trade as a weapon,” citing Lithuania, the Czech Republic, and Australia as some of the countries with which China has weaponized trade relations.
“We shouldn’t allow these kinds of business relations to jeopardize our national security. And I understand pretty well that Israel also places national security very high on the government agenda,” he said in a video interview.
Yaakov Katz, the editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post, said that he received a phone call from the Chinese embassy shortly after the publication of the interview, asking him to “take down the story.”
“Apparently I’m supposed to take down the story or they will sever ties with The Jerusalem Post and downgrade relations with the State of Israel. Needless to say, story ain’t going anywhere,” Katz said in a tweet.
Didn’t take long. Got call from Chinese embassy. Apparently I’m supposed to take down the story or they will sever ties with the @Jerusalem_Post and downgrade relations with the State of Israel. Needless to say, story ain’t going anywhere. https://t.co/BypRMTbc6W
— Yaakov Katz (@yaakovkatz) May 30, 2022
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry later shared his Twitter post, saying that the Chinese diplomat’s threat demonstrates that “the expansion of authoritarianism has no upper bound [and] forbidden zone.”
Israel is one of China’s largest trading partners. According to local reports, the Israeli government had ordered its diplomats not to invite Taiwanese officials to local events or to participate in Taiwan-organized events.
Taiwan’s diplomat in Israel is also referred to as a “representative” rather than an ambassador.
The self-governed island, which China claims as part of its territory, has nevertheless pledged to continue cooperating with Israel in various fields on an “existing friendly nations” basis.
“A very prominent American diplomat told me that you must be doing something right when China gets upset. So don’t worry about China getting upset at you. When they get upset at you, that means you are doing something right,” Wu said.
Wu also conveyed Taiwan’s interest in cooperating with Israel during the interview, saying that Taiwan has always admired Israel’s self-defense capabilities.
“That is something that we want to emulate. So even though there’s not a whole lot of security relations with each other, our security experts have been looking at Israel,” he told the publication.
Meanwhile, the Israeli news outlet said that it would proceed with publishing the interview piece in The Jerusalem Post newspaper on Tuesday.
The Chinese embassy had previously condemned The Jerusalem Post for publishing an op-ed article related to the Xinjiang province, calling it an “anti-china article” which it claimed was “written by a Xinjiang independence separatist.”
Persecuted Uyghurs, rights groups, and elected lawmakers around the world have accused Chinese authorities in Xinjiang of facilitating forced labor by arbitrarily detaining millions of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in a network of camps in the northwestern region.