Taiwan has firmly rejected a new set of rules enacted by Beijing to further open up its markets to firms from the self-ruled island, labeling it as “sweetener” policies aimed at influencing January’s presidential election.
The Chinese regime on Nov. 3 released 26 new policies, half of which were directed at Taiwanese businesses and the other half at Taiwanese citizens, in what it says are measures to make their lives easier in China.
The regime views self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province, and has, in recent years, escalated influence operations on the island, while working to isolate it diplomatically in the international arena.
In its latest measures, Beijing will allow Taiwan firms to invest in, or participate in, projects ranging from 5G to civil aviation, and allow Taiwan companies to issue bonds to raise capital on the inter-bank market, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement.
The regime will also make it easier for Taiwanese to live and work in the country and offer Taiwan citizens abroad the right to seek consular help from Chinese embassies, which in practice China has already been doing, as it considers them Chinese citizens.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen flatly rejected the policies on Nov. 5, warning that the regime was trying to influence the upcoming election and force Taiwan to accept the “one country, two systems” policy. This formula refers to the high degree of autonomy that Beijing promised to grant unrest-wracked Hong Kong, and wants Taiwan to eventually accept.
“There is only one answer to this—impossible,” Tsai said.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry also weighed in.
“Taiwan is a sovereign nation. The consular affairs we offer our citizens do not concern the PRC and we do not require them to act in our stead,” it said on its Facebook page, referring to China’s official name, the People’s Republic of China.
Earlier, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said Nov. 4 that China was trying to push its agenda of “promoting reunification, enticing Taiwan, and trying to split apart Taiwan internally, showing they are trying to influence Taiwan’s elections.”
Those who go to China need to be aware of the risks and the “differences in the system,” the council added.
The Beijing regime has never ruled out using force to take control of Taiwan. In addition to flying regular patrols of air force jets around the island, it forces foreign companies to refer to Taiwan as part of China on their websites.
Reuters contributed to this report.