Taiwan calls for alliance of 'like-minded' nations to stand up to China or risk greater Beijing influence in Pacific

If Taiwan was to "fall prey to China", Beijing would have greater influence in the Pacific, a senior official says.
If Taiwan was to "fall prey to China", Beijing would have greater influence in the Pacific, a senior official says. Photo credit: Getty.

Taiwan is calling for a new alliance of "like-minded" nations to resist China's expansionism.

Speaking to The Guardian this week, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned that China was seeking to "expand its authoritarian order", pointing to its growing military presence in the contested South China sea, recent skirmishes on the border with India, and the judicial crackdown in Hong Kong.

He said Taiwan - which Beijing considers a breakaway province - was the next of China's targets and wants a new international alliance to resist the country's growing reach, especially in the Pacific. If Taiwan was to "fall prey to China", the world order would be significantly impacted, Wu said. 

"If one of the most critical junctures of the first island chain is not in the hands of the like-minded countries, we can imagine what this is going to create in the global strategic picture," Wu told the British newspaper. "We definitely need to think about how we prevent it from happening."

In October, Chinese President Xi Jingping told elite combat troops to focus on "preparing for war". 

State-run media outlet The Global Times reported on that by saying saying that China looked to "speed up its preparation for any potential military conflict in the water areas and islands in regions like the Taiwan Straits, South and East China Seas, as well as the regions of significant overseas interests, as the strategic pressure from foreign hostile forces against China is increasing".

Wu said this week that it cannot be assumed that China will or will not attack Taiwan.

"But if we look at the Chinese preparation in the last couple of years, they have certainly intensified their military deployment against Taiwan, and also intensified their exercises around Taiwan."

He called on "like-minded" countries that had an interest in the Pacific, like Japan and Australia, to "come together". Taiwan would also "appreciate" such nations to share intelligence, Wu said.

Tensions between China and Taiwan have escalated this year with the self-governing island wanting a role within the World Health Organization (WHO) on the basis of its successful COVID-19 response. China has vehemently opposed that, however, and Taiwan is yet to garner the appropriate support. 

"We want the international community to understand that excluding 23.5 million people here in Taiwan is definitely not fair to the Taiwanese people, and also, excluding Taiwanese people from participating in the World Health Organization is also not fair to the rest of the international community," Wu said.