UK parliamentary report calls Taiwan an independent country while Cleverly visiting Beijing

“Taiwan is already an independent country, under the name of the Republic of China (ROC),” a report by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee says, in a move likely to stir up a hornets nest during Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s visit to Beijing today, Wednesday, August 30.

“Taiwan possesses all the qualifications of statehood, including a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other states,” the report stated, noting that the country only lacked greater recognition.

“Taiwan’s government has not made an official proclamation of independence—because China regards that as a casus belli—but President Tsai Ing-wen states that this is because Taiwan is “an independent country already” so has no need to declare itself an independent state.”

The report offers a rarely-seen clarity in its historical interpretation, and refutation of Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the island based on the myth that Taiwan has been part of China “since ancient times.”

“Although Chinese officials claim that Taiwan has been part of China for 1,800 years, it was only when the Manchu Empire took control of China and Taiwan that China ruled there. However, just as the British Empire took control of India and Sri Lanka at the same time, it did not make Sri Lanka part of India,” the report states.

Although the PRC has never controlled Taiwan, and indeed historically the CCP has
rejected the idea of ownership, the CCP has, since its 1949 victory in the 1946–1949 civil
war, claimed it as an integral part of China and has in recent years specifically constructed
narratives around its importance to Xi Jinping’s “great rejuvenation” of China. There is
now an explicit effort to coerce Taiwan, or to take it by force, in defiance of the selfdetermination of the people of Taiwan, to create an additional province of the PRC. As
part of its efforts to undermine the success of Taiwan, and its independent Government,
the CCP mounts cyber attacks against Taiwan daily, intending to weaken the resolve of its
people and sow division between Taiwan and countries that support its democracy and
right to self-determination. It should be noted that during our visit to Taiwan, with the exception of a handful of interlocutors, all those we engaged with wished to protect the
status quo, not officially declaring independence, but most certainly not re-joining China
as a province. The desire not to live under CCP rule was repeatedly expressed from both
sides of the political spectrum

Tilting horizons: the Integrated Review and the Indo-Pacific

The reports notes that extensive opinion polling show that the people of Taiwan do not want to be part of the People’s Republic of China, but that China has been developing its military with the aim of taking Taiwan by force or coercion.

“The future of Taiwan should be of concern to any country concerned with preserving the existing international order, as any attempt to take Taiwan using military force would be an affront to the principle of state sovereignty and would also alter the balance of power in the Pacific, threatening Japan’s security, interrupt 30% of global trade, and give China greater ability to force project its military,” the report says.

The report recommends the UK help protect Taiwan, recommending measures that includes “calling out China for its intimidating rhetoric and military maneuvers,” supporting Taiwan in gaining membership of international organizations, and preparing economic sanctions against China in case of an invasion or economic blockade of Taiwan.

The 85-page report, “Tilting Horizons: the Integrated Review and the Indo-Pacific” mentions Taiwan 212 times.

Read the full report here.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) responded to the report today, saying that it sincerely welcomes the British Parliament’s increasing attention to the situation in the Indo-Pacific and the threat from China. MOFA also thanked them for supporting Taiwan’s status and international participation.

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