Former KMT Chairman Lien Chan Visits China
Former Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan led a party delegation to Beijing in mid-July for a meeting with General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Lien, who served as Vice President during the Lee Teng-hui administration, currently heads the Cross-strait Peace Development Foundation. During the talks, Lien reiterated support for a One-China policy, saying that although interpretations differed on the meaning of “One China,” China and Taiwan could find common ground and work together to improve the lives of people living on both sides of the Strait. Prior to the closed-door meeting, Xi gave a public speech in which he stressed the importance of peaceful reunification. The trip drew criticism from some leading members of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and their supporters.
Airlines Cave to Chinese Pressure Over Taiwan
China’s Civil Aviation Administration reprimanded four U.S. airlines – American Airlines, Delta, United, and Hawaiian – for missing a deadline in changing the way they refer to Taiwan on their websites. The regulator had issued a June 25 deadline demanding that the carriers refer to the island as “Taiwan, China” or as belonging to the “Greater China region.” Instead, three of the U.S. airlines revised the nomenclature to simply “Taipei” without specifying a country name. Hawaiian Airlines currently is not flying to Taiwan, though it has a code-sharing agreement with Taiwan’s China Airlines. The Chinese government has been waging a campaign to pressure businesses and governments to refer to Taiwan as a part of China rather than an independent entity. Reportedly some 40 international airlines have agreed to comply with China’s demand. But the U.S. government has expressed its displeasure with the Chinese name-changing drive; in June a White House statement referred to it as “Orwellian nonsense.”
Burkina Faso Severs Relations With Taiwan
Burkina Faso announced in May that it was cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the fourth country to do so since President Tsai’s election in 2016. Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is the sole remaining country in Africa to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and is one of 18 countries worldwide to retain full diplomatic relations. The move was seen as the latest in an effort by China to isolate Taiwan on the international stage. The Burkina Faso foreign minister cited “socioeconomic challenges” and an “evolution of the world” as reasons behind the break with Taiwan. He also announced that a delegation of Chinese officials would visit Burkina Faso to determine its need for economic aid. Taiwan blamed Beijing as the “sole factor” in Burkina Faso’s decision to break ties. Two weeks later, King Mswati III of Eswatini landed in Taiwan for a state visit, during which he met with President Tsai.