BRISBANE—Douglas Hsu Yu-tien, Taiwan’s new chief representative to Australia, will push for greater trade cooperation between the two sides, despite pressure from Beijing.
Taiwan, an island of 23 million people, has been self-ruling since 1949 with its own military, democratically elected government, and constitution.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), however, has viewed it as a renegade province that needs to be united with the mainland and seeks actively to restrict its international engagement.
“In the past few years, all of us have been subjected to economic coercion by China [the CCP],” Mr. Hsu, who assumed his new role in Canberra in August, told The Epoch Times on Sept. 16 at a welcoming dinner in Brisbane.
“I believe that mutual trust and reliance in economic and trade relations between democratic countries is a trend for the future, so I believe that economic and trade relations between Taiwan and Australia will get better and better.”
“During my time as foreign minister, I observed an increasing assertiveness on the part of China to encourage nations to disengage from their relationship with Taiwan,” Ms. Bishop, who served as foreign minister between 2013 and 2018, told media at the time.
“This included in the Pacific and where some nations still formally recognise Taiwan and in some of the major multilateral forums where Taiwan had observer status to participate in such meetings.”
“I think the Australian government has probably heard our aspirations, and I believe that they will take all factors into account in the process of thinking,” he said.
The representative confirmed that his team would continue to push for more free trade.
CCP Spy Case Will Not Impact Future Cooperation: RepresentativeMr. Hsu also said cooperation would not be impacted by foreign interference.
In 2021, Taiwanese authorities charged businessman Xiang Xin and his wife Gong Qing, both directors of a Chinese company, for employing alleged CCP spy Wang Liqiang who defected and revealed he was running overseas interference operations for Beijing.
The couple were detained at Taiwan’s airport in late 2019 and banned from leaving the island.
Taipei's requests for legal assistance from Australia around the case were rejected, making further investigations difficult.
Mr. Hsu, previously a U.S. specialist in Taiwan’s foreign ministry, said the incident would not impact future cooperation.
“In fact, there is a long history of mutual legal assistance cooperation between Australia and Taiwan, and the degree of cooperation between the two sides is very good,” he said.
Australia Can Increase Security Ties in the RegionWhile security cooperation between the United States, Japan, and the Philippines in the Indo-Pacific is getting stronger, Mr. Hsu, previously the director-general of Taiwan’s Department of North American Affairs, hopes Australia can engage more.
“In the Indo-Pacific region, the challenges and threats we face are the same. I think cooperation between us is something that each country would like to foster,” he said.
Mr. Hsu said over the past few years, the Australian government has “expressed its concern for regional peace and stability through a number of joint declarations with some countries,” and “demonstrated the consistency of our coordination through many joint military exercises.”
“This, I believe, shows that the Australian government is indeed concerned about regional security.”