China threat: Taiwan fears it may become ‘next Hong Kong’ as Beijing’s ramps up pressure

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Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu spoke to the visiting US health secretary and said: “Our daily lives have become increasingly difficult as China continues to pressure Taiwan into accepting its political conditions, conditions that will turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong.” The recent clampdown on freedom in Hong Kong due to Beijing’s controversial new security law is causing anxiety in Taiwan. China’s President Xi Jinping announced it was his plan to take Hong Kong and Taiwan under central Communist control.

Taiwan military observers have described a build-up in Chinese armaments on the mainland across the strait.

The US health secretary Alex Azar was warned in Taipei that Beijing could be set to demolish Taiwan’s freedoms.

The US visit to Taiwan has enraged Beijing as China does not recognise the sovereignty of the nation.

This meeting challenges the 1979 diplomatic switch that saw the US recognise mainland China over the island nation of Taiwan.

It comes following tensions in the South China Sea which have seen naval build-up, as well as disputes over trade, and the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.

During the time of the meeting, China sent fighter jets over the sea border in the Taiwan Strait.

On the visit, the United States praised Taiwan’s democracy and also its success in combating the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking to the New York Times, Taiwanese politician Chen Po-wei said: “Hong Kong has become less free, so our sense of fear has increased.

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“Because of China’s nature, there is a high possibility of conflict.”

The tension increased last month after President Xi Jinping accused Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, of carrying out a “separatist plot”.

Observers have described a general sense of anxiety throughout the island of Taiwan about Beijing’s motives.

The US Matthew P. Funaiole, a senior fellow with the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told the New York Times, “part of the game is making people in Taiwan feel helpless and trying to direct their frustration against leaders in Taipei”.

Beijing has one eye on Taiwan, but another eye on how the rest of the world might respond if the conflict escalates.

Mr Funaiole added: “We’ve seen plenty of examples of China testing and prodding and doing just enough to stay below the threshold of eliciting a strong response from the US.”

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has promised to protect the sovereignty of the independent island nation against Beijing’s policies.

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