Beijing warns Truss her Taiwan visit makes reunification more likely

Victor Gao criticises planned Liz Truss visit to Taiwan

A spokesperson for the Communist Government in Beijing has warned Liz Truss that her speech in Taipei next week could risk making a takeover of the island by China more likely, and threatened that she will “live to see the unification of Taiwan with Motherland”.  Liz Truss’s office announced the speech yesterday, promising to pronounce Taiwan as a “beacon of freedom and democracy” amid “increasingly aggressive behaviour and rhetoric from the regime in Beijing.” That aggressive behaviour was on full show tonight, as Andrew Marr questioned Communist Party official Victor Gao. 

Mr Gao said that Mrs Truss’s visit could “inflict mortal wounds to China-UK relations”.

After making personal jibes about Liz Truss’s short time as Prime Minister, Mr Gao said visits by Western Politicians like Mrs Truss to the island “is one of those steps leading the situation towards the direction of going over the point of no return”.

“She will be together with those people to be held responsible for provoking the situation, pushing the situation eventually beyond the point of no return.”

“The illicit illegitimate steps by people like Liz Truss in making illicit illegitimate visits to Taiwan will make it more likely that China will exercise jurisdiction over Taiwan sooner rather than later.

“I’m pretty sure Liz Truss will live to see the unification of Taiwan with Motherland – with China – and I hope she will not really eternally regret that she made the wrong decision, which damaged the fundamental interest of the British people, inflicting damage on China-UK relations and turning herself into a laughing stock.”

Tonight Mrs Truss stood defiant, however, against the pressure from China. 

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Hours after Mr Gao delivered his warning, she tweeted: “At this critical juncture, I’m glad to be visiting Taipei next week”.

“I’m grateful to Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the invitation & wish I’d been able to accept sooner. 

“We must do all we can to back the democratically elected Government of Taiwan & the Taiwanese people.”

Asked by journalists yesterday whether Downing Street was concerned about the diplomatic implications of Liz Truss Taiwan speech, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said decisions about where MPs travel is a matter for them.

They added: “For our part, the UK Government will continue to engage with the government of China on the issue of Taiwan”.

Mrs Truss’s spokesman said the speech will demonstrate “solidarity” with the island, which China has vowed to retake – by force if necessary – by 2050.

The speech will come two days after she speaks at the Copenhagen Democracy Summit, where she will renew calls for an “economic NATO” to counteract the economic strength of totalitarian regimes.

Ms Truss’s “economic NATO” plan would allow free-market Western countries to agree trade and investment decisions in a way that would promote freedom.

In November last year, the Chinese Government criticised a visit by then-trade minister Greg Hands, saying their country “resolutely opposes” official exchanges between Taipei and UK.

They added that the UK must cease “sending the wrong signals” to pro-independence forces on the island, which Beijing regards as its own territory.

Ms Truss believes it would be wrong to be swayed either by the Chinese Communist Party or the Foreign Office.

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