China encroaching on Taiwan: USCC
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ECONOMIC INCENTIVES:Beijing has increased its engagement with Pacifc island nations, as well as countries with diplomatic ties to Taiwan, a commission report saidStaff writer, with CNA, Washington
Chinaâs increasing engagement with Pacific island nations is reducing Taiwanâs space on the international stage, a report released on Thursday by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) showed.
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping (ç¿'è¿'å¹³) took power in 2013, China has increased its dealings with Pacific island nations by including them in its âBelt and Road Initiativeâ â" a major diplomatic and economic development policy, the report said.
Such a move demonstrate s Beijingâs geostrategic interest in the Pacific islands region, which is home to considerable natural resources and raw materials, it said.
âBeijingâs heightened engagement in the region in recent years is driven by its broader diplomatic and strategic interests, reducing Taiwanâs international space, and gaining access to raw materials and natural resources,â the report said.
The USCC was set up by the US Congress in 2000 to monitor, investigate and submit an annual report to the US Congress on the national security implications of the bilateral economic and trade relationship between Washington and Beijing.
Over the past five years, Beijing has âsignificantlyâ strengthened economic relations with Pacific island nations in trade, investment, development assistance and tourism, making China one of the major participants in the regionâs development, the report said.
Chinaâs engagement in the region has largely focused on its eight allies, bu t it has also extended its efforts with countries that have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the report said.
During the tenure of former president Ma Ying-jeou (é¦¬è±ä¹) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Beijing and Taipei reached a âdiplomatic truceâ to reduce competition between the two sides in the international area, it said, adding that since President Tsai Ing-wen (è"¡è±æ) of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to office in May 2016, China has poached Taiwanâs diplomatic partners.
Since Tsaiâs election, five of the nationsâ former allies â" the Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso â" have switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Taiwanâs six diplomatic partners from the Pacific islands are Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, the Republic of Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.
In November last year, China reportedly stopped state-run tour groups from traveling to Palau in a bid to pressure it into severing ties with Taiwan, but that effort failed, the USCC report said.
âWith the end of the diplomatic truce between Beijing and Taipei in 2016, there is an increasing potential of reigniting cross-Strait diplomatic competition in the Pacific Islands,â the report said.
âGrowing economic incentives offered by China to Taiwanâs diplomatic partners could cause these countries to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing, shrinking Taiwanâs international space and expanding Chinaâs presence in the region,â it said. âSuch a development would negatively affect US interests in the Indo-Pacific.This story has been viewed 1384 times.
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