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Taiwan team's India visit raises China's hackles

Today is National Solidarity Day, on this day China attacked India in 1962. Photograph: (AFP)

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 15, 2017, 12.56 PM (IST)

A Taiwanese delegation's visit to India earlier this week has raised China's hackles, who insist that all countries having diplomatic ties with them should respect the 'One-China policy'.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang condemned the India visit made by Taiwanese legislators, saying New Delhi should take "concrete actions for steady development of India-China relations".

"The reason why China lodged the representation is because that we have been requiring countries that have diplomatic relations with China to fulfil their commitment to the 'One China' principle," he said.

The Indian side has asked Beijing to not look at the visit from a political angle, with India's external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup saying there was "nothing new or unusual about such visits".

A three-member women's parliamentary delegation from Taiwan visited India earlier this week amid growing engagement between the two countries.

"Such informal groups have visited India in the past as well for business, religious and tourist purposes. I understand that they do so to China as well," Swarup said.

'Playing with fire'

The Chinese media was more belligerent in its tone, saying India was "playing with fire" by playing Beijing over the Taiwan issue.

China's state media Global Times said India was standing out as a "provocateur" at a time when even Trump has soft-pedalled on the issue.

The editorial further stated: "High-level visits between India and Taiwan are not very frequent, so why did India invite the Taiwan delegation to visit at this time?" 

It also accused New Delhi of deliberately trying to rile Beijing by raking up issues that are sensitive to the Chinese mainland. 

The Taiwanese delegation's visit last week was the first one since pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen swept to power last year.

Brothers in arms?

India and Taiwan have enjoyed a steady relationship over the years much to Beijing's chagrin.

Though diplomatic relations have mainly stayed off radar, Taiwan currently has Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre located in New Delhi. India's office in Taiwan is called India-Taipei Association.

Taiwan has been a hot potato for Beijing as it considers the country to be a part of the mainland.

Beijing's 'One China principle' views Taiwan to be an inalienable part of a single China.

But its 'One-China policy' is slightly different as Beijing states that countries having diplomatic relations with them must not engage with Republic of China, also known as Taiwan.

Recently, the United States bore the brunt of China's ire when Donald Trump became the US president to phone his Taiwanese counterpart since 1979.

In the 1970s, the US had decided to adhere to the 'One-China policy' by closing its embassy in Taiwan.

Diplomatic relations between the two sides were skewered when Trump called up Tsai to congratulate his election win.

But days after hectic diplomatic jostling, Trump affirmed that the US would abide by the 'One-China policy'.

(WION with inputs from PTI)


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