World League for Freedom and Democracy in Taipei: UUP Peer Lord Rogan says UK must stand with Taiwan against 'intimidation' by China
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Beijing has stepped up its military exercises aimed at the island, sending fighter jets and navy vessels to patrol and hold drills in the waters and skies around it.
The UK Government does not currently recognise Taiwan as an independent country and all diplomatic relations between the two countries take place on an unofficial basis, Lord Rogan said.
Addressing a meeting of the World League for Freedom and Democracy in Taipei earlier today, he added that 103 Chinese warplanes had recently been detected close to Taiwan over a single 24-hour period.
But he added: “Having lived in Northern Ireland all my life, I know what it is like to face down bullies. I have no doubt that the great nation of Taiwan will not wilt under pressure from Beijing.”
Lord Rogan, Co-Chairman of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group for Taiwan, told the gathering that last month the Chinese Government had summoned the German ambassador for 'a telling off' after the German Foreign Minister had described President Xi Jinping as a “dictator.”
He said: “Rather than 'a telling off', I would to have given her a large Bushmills whiskey and a pat on the back.”
The former Ulster Unionist Party President praised a report from the cross-party House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee which called on the UK government to strengthen political and cultural ties with Taiwan, negotiate free trade agreements with it and champion Taiwan’s membership of international bodies.
He said: “If the United Kingdom truly is the mother of democracies, it is our duty to stand strong against the bullying of independent states by oppressive regimes.
“His Majesty’s Government, under Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, should be putting much greater effort into deepening cooperation and partnership working with our freedom-loving friends here in Taiwan.
“As a first step, he should grant Mr Kelly W. Hsieh, the Representative for Taiwan in the United Kingdom, full diplomatic status – giving him equivalence with the Chinese Ambassador.”