Taiwan, Beijing accuse each other of attacking their diplomats in Fiji

Taipei / Beijing, Oct 19 (efe-epa).- Taiwan accused Chinese diplomats Monday of “attacking with violence” members of its staff stationed in the Fiji Islands, a complaint Beijing called “completely inconsistent with the facts” considering Taiwanese representatives attacked the Chinese.

Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Monday that on Oct. 8, as it celebrated its National Day, two Chinese diplomats “forcibly” entered the Taiwanese representative office in Fiji, took photographs of attendees, refused to leave and “even physically attacked Taiwanese staff.”

Taiwanese Deputy Foreign Minister Harry Tseng said Monday in Taipei that local police arrived at the scene about 20 minutes later to “take away the rioters,” adding that it is not the first time such an incident occurred.

For its part, the Chinese Embassy in Fiji responded saying in a statement that the accusation is “inconsistent with the facts,” and that “it was the staff of the Taiwanese office who provoked our embassy in a public area causing injury to a diplomat.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian said Taiwanese personnel “blatantly displayed false national flags” in violation of the so-called “one China” principle, which requires countries with which Beijing maintains diplomatic relations not to use them.

Fiji established diplomatic relations with China in 1975, five years after declaring its independence.

The episode comes at a time of high tension between China and Taiwan and just a day after Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post reported Sunday that Beijing is advancing the militarization of its southeast coast to prepare for a possible invasion from Taiwan.

According to the newspaper’s sources, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed DF-17 medium-range hypersonic missiles there, which according to the Global Times newspaper can play “an important role in stopping foreign forces from the United States, Japan, South Korea or Australia if they try to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping last week urged Chinese troops to be “ready for combat” as their “primary role and responsibility,” stating that “a strong country is defined by a strong army that can win.”

Taiwan is considered a sovereign territory with its own government and political system under the name of the Republic of China since the end of the civil war between nationalists and communists in 1949, but Beijing maintains it is a rebellious province and insists that it reintegrate. EFE-EPA


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