The issue of reunification is a shared key concern of Beijing and Nicosia, says China’s Ambassador to Cyprus Liu Yidao and notes that global peace and prosperity can only be ensured by respecting international law.
In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, the Ambassador of China refers to the right of Cyprus to exploit its energy resources, referring to the joint declaration of the two countries of 2021, where, among other things, there is a reference to the respect of maritime rights according to the Convention of the United Nations on the Law of the Sea.
“China firmly adheres to this principle and calls on relevant parties to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue and consultation to avoid fueling uncertainty and instability in the region,” he added.
Commenting on the recent tension in the Taiwan Strait which peaked last month amid US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei, the Ambassador says it was caused by the US side, which must therefore bear all the consequences.
Any attempt to deny the One China principle “will only end in failure,” he added, noting that China stresses the need for peaceful reunification but “will not renounce the use of force” as a last resort and reserves to take “all necessary measures.” .
Asked about the possibility of further escalation in the future, the Ambassador says that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait best serves the well-being of his compatriots on both sides of the Straits, as well as the interests of countries in the region.
According to Ambassador Liu, the Taiwan Strait crisis is caused unilaterally by the US. “Despite China’s many entreaties, the US allowed Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan and insisted on selling arms to Taiwan. Faced with challenges that threaten China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no choice but to take decisive countermeasures,” he notes.
He points to the Taiwan Policy Act of 2022, which passed the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 14, and says China has repeatedly expressed its firm opposition, urging the US side to stop the legislation.
“The One China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. Unnecessary interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign country through domestic law and tolerance of separatist forces are contrary to jurisprudence and justice. It is certain to have extremely serious consequences for China-US relations and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait once it becomes law,” the Ambassador notes.
His country, he continues, will take all necessary countermeasures to ensure national sovereignty and security, as well as overall stability in the region, depending on the progress and final outcome of this legislation.
Ambassador Liu says the US has always been “inconsistent in words and deeds” on the One China policy.
He then refers to the 1978 China-US Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, which states that the US Government “recognizes the Chinese position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China” and that the US recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the “sole legitimate Government of China”. “In this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, trade and other informal relations with the people of Taiwan,” the statement added.
However, the Chinese Ambassador says that “the reality is that the US is looking for various excuses to interfere in Taiwan’s affairs.”
In recent years, he adds, the US side has openly raised the issue of Taiwan Relations legislation and the “Six Assurances to Taiwan” [Σ.Σ. έγγραφο που υιοθετήθηκε το 1982 από τον Αμερικανό Πρόεδρο Ρόναλντ Ρίγκαν αναφορικά με τη στήριξη των ΗΠΑ και το οποίο η αμερικανική πλευρά έχει επαναβεβαιώσει έκτοτε πολλές φορές]which China has never recognized and which contradict the provisions of the three China-U.S. joint communiques [Σ.Σ. αναφορικά με την καθιέρωση διμερών σχέσεων Κίνας-ΗΠΑ] and arranged for the US Speaker of the House, lawmakers and government officials to visit Taiwan to improve the level of official contacts between the US and Taiwan.
Such actions are intended, according to Ambassador Liu, to disrupt cross-Strait relations and contain China through the continued obfuscation and erosion of the One China principle.
“We strongly oppose such actions and urge the US side to abide by the commitments made in the communiqués to establish diplomatic relations with China, instead of violating China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and introducing new elements of instability and insecurity in the Straits of Taiwan,” he adds, noting that both the Government and the people of China have firm will, strong determination and endurance to safeguard their sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Any attempt to distort facts and question or deny the One China principle will only end in failure, he adds.
Asked about possible side effects due to the increased military presence in the Taiwan Strait, which could affect either supply chains or energy in a similar way to what happened in Europe due to the war in Ukraine, the Ambassador refers to the situation in Europe noting that “NATO, led by the United States, ignored Russia’s security concerns, violated its commitments and expanded eastward five times, which ultimately triggered the crisis in Ukraine.”
The nature of the Taiwan issue is completely different from the crisis in Ukraine, as Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory and the Taiwan issue is a purely internal matter of China, he adds.
“The US is constantly improving the level of official contacts with the Taiwanese authorities and deploying its warships on China’s doorstep in support of Taiwan’s separatist forces, maliciously dividing mainland China and Taiwan and blatantly interfering in China’s internal affairs.” , he adds.
In addition, he speaks of “steady, strong and proportionate” countermeasures by China. “Our military exercises are open, transparent and professional, in accordance with both domestic and international law,” he adds.
“Stubborn actions by the US that violate the basic rules of international relations must be condemned and ended with the utmost effort on the part of the international community,” he adds.
Asked whether Beijing is considering reunification with Taiwan through peaceful means or by force, Ambassador Liu says that both the current and past leadership of the People’s Republic of China have emphasized as a basic policy that of “peaceful reunification and one country, two systems”.
China, he adds, has just released a white paper, titled “The Taiwan Question and China’s Reunification in the New Era,” which points out that reunification through peaceful means is the Chinese Government’s first choice for resolving the issue. Taiwan, as it best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole.
“We will work with the utmost sincerity and make every effort to achieve a peaceful reunification. However, we will not renounce the use of force and reserve the right to take all necessary measures”, the Ambassador emphasizes.
As he says, “this is to protect against outside interference and against all separatist activities” and is in no way targeting his Chinese compatriots in Taiwan. According to the Ambassador “the use of force would be the last resort taken under compelling circumstances”.
Asked about the public confirmation of the One China policy by Cyprus and whether this contributed to bringing the two countries closer, the Ambassador replied that the One China and One Cyprus policy is the cornerstone for the establishment and development diplomatic relations between China and Cyprus.
“Cyprus has always implemented the One China policy and strongly supported China’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, demonstrating a high level of mutual political trust between China and Cyprus as Strategic Partners, which China warmly welcomes,” says.
As Ambassador Liu notes, achieving reunification is the common core concern of both China and Cyprus. “It is also the divine power and authority that confers international law on all sovereign states, including China and Cyprus. Only by respecting the UN Charter, international law and the basic rules of international relations can global peace, development and prosperity be ensured,” he adds.
In addition, he says that the mutual support between China and Cyprus is not only based on friendship, but also on the principles and ideas shared by the two sides as responsible members of the international community.
Following the recent announcements of natural gas discoveries in block 6, the Ambassador was also asked whether China supports the right of the Republic of Cyprus to develop its energy resources in the Exclusive Economic Zone, in the shadow of the illegal Turkish drilling that has occurred in the past years .
In this context, the Ambassador notes that at the end of 2021, the two countries issued a joint declaration on the establishment of a China-Cyprus Strategic Partnership, in which they reaffirmed their joint commitment to respect the territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests of all states in accordance with international law, including the United Nations Charter and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“China firmly adheres to this principle and calls on the parties involved to resolve disputes through peaceful dialogue and consultation to avoid fueling uncertainty and instability in the region,” he added.
On tourism issues, Ambassador Liu says that China and Cyprus plan to hold an online event to boost tourism by the end of this year.
He adds that representatives of Governments and tourism industry bodies from both sides will discuss ways to encourage bilateral people-to-people exchanges and tourism cooperation to get closer to establishing direct flights.
He notes, however, that the opening of direct flights “is a big thing” as it contains policy issues, technical issues and especially the existence of market prospects.
China supports holding further bilateral discussions to open direct flights to Cyprus as soon as possible, on the basis of trade cooperation, he concludes.