Another European Nation Defies China As Slovenia Strengthens Taiwan Ties
BY JOHN FENG
19 January 2022
China has described its shock at comments from Slovenia’s prime minister Janez Jansa criticizing Beijing’s economic coercion and vowing to strengthen relations with Taiwan.
On Tuesday, Indian public broadcaster Doordarshan aired an interview with the Central European leader in which he disclosed his government’s plans to follow Lithuania’s lead by establishing reciprocal trade offices with Taipei. He also warned that continued Chinese pressure against the democratic island and its newfound friends in the European Union would backfire.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, told a press conference that Beijing was “shocked by this and strongly opposes it.” He described Jansa’s remarks as “a dangerous statement in support of ‘Taiwan independence.'”
China has never governed Taiwan but asserts a historic claim to the island, which goes by the formal title the Republic of China and has no official diplomatic relations with any EU member or even with its strongest international backer, the United States. The Chinese leadership has threatened to seize the island by force if it declares formal independence under the name “Taiwan.”
Zhao’s response appeared to be a direct reference to Jansa’s view that the people of Taiwan should be allowed to make their own choice.