Chinese ambassador to Canada warns there is no room for compromise on Taiwan

‘The status quo in real terms is that there is one China in the world, of which Taiwan is an inalienable part,’ Ambassador Cong Peiwu said

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OTTAWA — China’s ambassador in Ottawa said he hopes to renew his country’s relationship with Canada, but made clear there is no room for compromise on Taiwan.


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In an exclusive interview with the National Post at the country’s embassy Monday, Ambassador Cong Peiwu said his government wants good relations with Canada, but stressed Beijing sees Taiwan as an indivisible part of China.

“People have to understand the real status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The status quo in real terms is that there is one China in the world, of which Taiwan is an inalienable part.”

Cong cited UN declarations on Taiwan that stipulate it is a part of China, as well as diplomatic representations. Most countries, including Canada, have no formal embassy in Taiwan and don’t give it full diplomatic recognition.

He said the Taiwanese authorities are “moving down the wrong path of Taiwanese independence” and that the U.S., in supporting Taiwan, is “sending the wrong signal to separatist forces.”


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“It emboldens them,” he said.

Taiwan has long been a sticking point in relations between China and Western countries. The island nation is governed independently from the mainland, but China considers it a province. Taiwan has a democratically elected government and the current governing party does not favour any integration with the mainland.

The Chinese air force has increasingly flown sorties near Taiwan, raising concerns about whether China might invade the island. Cong said the government takes a hard line against what it considers Taiwan’s separatist movements to dissuade them from making the tensions worse.


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China has concluded that “the more resolute we are in deterring them and the clearer the messaging to separatist forces, the more likely we are to safeguard peace.”

He said China is eager to avoid any armed conflict over the island, but also won’t accept a challenge to its sovereignty.

“Our resolve is firm … there is no room for us to compromise and we will take resolute measures to counteract (separatism).”

Canadian warships have joined U.S. ships in sailings through the Taiwan Strait, the 180-kilometre wide strait separating China and Taiwan, as recently as last month. Several Conservative MPs have also called for Taiwan to be able to fully participate in international organizations such as the World Health Organization.


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Canada has more direct issues with China, including the Trudeau government’s long delayed decision on Huawei telecommunications equipment. Many of Canada’s allies have banned the company’s equipment from 5G telecom networks over security concerns.

Canadian companies have largely made the same choice on their own, but both Bell and Telus have older generation Huawei equipment that they would have to remove depending on what the Liberals decide on the issue.

The debate was complicated by the extradition hearing of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and the imprisonment of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China. Meng returned to China in September after striking a deal with U.S. prosecutors and Kovrig and Spavor were released and put on a plane to Canada at the same time.


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Cong said the U.S. has driven the narrative that Huawei equipment is somehow unsafe, and he hopes Canada will make its own decision.

“We hope people will not make judgment based on other countries,” he said. “No one has come forward with concrete evidence of security issues with Huawei products.”

Cong argued that if Canada bans Huawei simply because America urges it to do so, other companies, not just Chinese ones, will be reluctant to invest in Canada.

“It will be sending a dangerous and alarming message.”

Canada has been urged to follow its Five Eyes allies immediately by banning the Chinese firm Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G internet service.
Canada has been urged to follow its Five Eyes allies immediately by banning the Chinese firm Huawei from supplying equipment for 5G internet service. Photo by REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Cong also reacted to a possible diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Beijing Olympics. The United Kingdom has said it plans one and the U.S. and Australia are expected to follow suit.

Canada is also considering such a move, which would still allow athletes to compete, but no dignitaries, ministers or other politicians would attend the February Games.


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There have also been calls for wider boycotts of the Games over concerns about the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region of China. There have been widespread reports of human rights abuses in that region and Canadian MPs in the last Parliament voted to declare that the Chinese government’s actions constituted a genocide against the Uyghurs.

Cong said talks of potential boycotts are not in keeping with the values of the Olympics.

“It is for the people. It is for humanity. It is not for politicians,” he said. “It is against the spirit of the Olympic Games to politicize these issues.”

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