In Taipei, ex-UK PM says West must not abandon Taiwan to appease China
Beijing, May 17 (EFE).- Former British prime minister and Conservative MP Liz Truss Wednesday criticized European nations for abandoning Taiwan, which she considered crucial to the freedom and democracy of Europe.
Truss was addressing an event at a Taiwan thinktank, the Prospect Foundation, in Taipei, a day after she landed on the island for a trip that China has called a “dangerous political show.”
“I believe that it is completely irresponsible for European nations to wash their hands of Taiwan on the grounds that it is a long way away or not a core interest to our continent. On the contrary, it is a core interest to the people of Europe,” Truss said.
The former head of the British government warned that “a blockade or invasion of Taiwan would undermine freedom and democracy in Europe.
“Just as a Russian victory in Ukraine would undermine freedom and democracy in the Pacific,” she said.
She recalled a recent statement by the Chinese diplomat in Europe repudiating the independent existence of the Baltic states. “These two theatres are inextricably linked.”
Truss said no one could trust China to follow the rules.
“There are still too many in the West who are trying to cling on to the idea that we can cooperate with China on issues like climate change, as if there is nothing wrong,” she said.
She criticized the Western notion that it was critical to cooperate with Beijing because “there are bigger issues than Chinese global dominance or the future of freedom and democracy.”
“But without freedom and democracy, there is nothing else. We know what happens to the environment or world health under totalitarian regimes that do not tell the truth. You cannot believe a word they say.”
Truss said the West had a choice – “to appease or to accommodate.”
“There are those who say they do not want another Cold War. But this is not a choice we are in a position to make,” she said.
“China has already embarked on a self-reliance drive, whether we want to decouple from their economy or not. China is growing its navy at an alarming rate and is undertaking the biggest military build-up in peacetime history.”
She said the Chinese had already chosen their strategy and the only choice with the West “is whether we appease and accommodate – or we take action to prevent conflict.”
The former prime minister said the United Kingdom “must support free democracies like Taiwan in the face of aggression from a Chinese regime whose record is all too clear for the world to see.”
“We in the West have a collective responsibility not just to do the right thing by Taiwan, but also to hold the Chinese government to account for its actions.”
She described the island as “a shining beacon in the Pacific” and “an enduring rebuke to totalitarianism.”
“My visit this week is enabling me to communicate directly the solidarity that the British people have with the people of Taiwan.”
During her stay in Taiwan, Truss will meet with political, business, and academic leaders from the island.
There is no official confirmation if she will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan.