Taiwan’s top diplomat struck a cordial note while offering the Taiwanese government’s support to its “very good friend,” Canada, as Ottawa looks to mount new defences against growing interference efforts by the Chinese Communist Party.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Taipei last week, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu glowingly spoke of the growing cooperation between Taiwan and Canada and reaffirmed the island nation’s commitment to helping Canada if requested.
“Canada is a very good friend of Taiwan, there’s no doubt about it,” he said. “The cooperation between Canada and Taiwan has been increasing tremendously in the last few years.”
When asked about advice the Taiwanese government would be able to provide Canada about how to combat interference campaigns from Beijing, Wu confirmed that the offer from Taiwan to assist Canada is on the table but stopped short of providing direct advice in a public forum.
“I have to be careful in giving the Canadian government any advice. Anything at all,” Wu said. “But we have told our Canadian friends that if they think that the information campaigns or United Front or that kind of thing is getting too serious in Canada, we would like to engage with the Canadian government.”
“We can share our experiences with our Canadian friends.”
Wu also lauded the “positive” change in posture that the Trudeau government has taken toward Beijing.
“We also see the Trudeau government is taking much more proactive actions and a posture on what China represents as a malign force influencing Canadian politics. So all of these are very positive.”
As part of Taiwan’s effort to gain recognition among partners around the world, the government has prioritized Taiwan’s accession as a member state in intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
The well-documented reality that China has infiltrated these organizations is not lost on Wu, who spent a considerable amount of his time at the press conference rallying “like-minded” countries to combat and reject Chinese infiltration in the United Nations.
“The United Nations has to be the organization to maintain peace and stability in this region. But somehow something is wrong with this organization. This organization has been taking too much Chinese infiltration to the degree that they would accept China’s interpretation of Taiwan’s status,” Wu said.
“China’s penetration into major international organizations is a matter for like minded countries to deal with, not just Taiwan.”
“Democracies around the world need to work together to prevent China from penetrating into international organizations and twist rules and norms of these organizations and the rules-based international order.”
Wu was also asked about the possibility of invasion from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and how the government is preparing for the worst case scenario but downplayed fears by referring to experts that say war in the Taiwan Strait is not on the horizon.
“A lot of people are talking about the imminence of invasion by China or that war is about to take place in one or two years,” he said. “But when talking about security relations between Taiwan and China I think there’s a growing consensus among key analysts in the United States and also in Taiwan that war is not imminent.”
Wu noted that China’s military and diplomatic provocations across the Taiwan Strait aren’t doing them any favours if their goal is to achieve unification peacefully. In playing the role of devil’s advocate, Wu offered his own advice to the CCP.
“To me, the long term strategy of China should be something like ‘build better relations more friendly to Taiwan’ so that Taiwanese people will entertain some sort of relations with China,” he said.
“But what China has been doing is to push Taiwanese people further and further away and I’m not sure whether that is in China’s own interest.”
While speaking to a Bloomberg New Economy summit in Singapore last week, Justin Trudeau told the audience that Canada was clear-eyed on the threat posed by China but that an effort to rebuild relations with the country is underway.
“We will continue to look for ways to engage constructively, in ways of mutual benefit and try to rebuild a positive relationship in the interests of Canadians but we’re not going to be naive about it.”
When asked if he shares the concerns that Canada’s allies have over the future of Taiwan, Trudeau said that Canada’s concern for the Taiwan is exemplified by Canada’s naval presence in the region.