Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Taiwan issues travel advisory after China vows to execute independence supporters

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The Taiwanese government warned its citizens not to travel to mainland China on Thursday after Beijing threatened to execute residents who support the island’s independence.

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Liang Wen-chieh issued the warning during a routine press conference. The Chinese government announced a new policy targeting “separatists” last week, and said it would pursue the death penalty for “diehard” supporters of Taiwanese independence.

“I want to stress: Democracy is not a crime; it’s autocracy that is the real evil. China has absolutely no right to sanction Taiwan’s people just because of the positions they hold. What’s more, China has no right to go after Taiwan people’s rights across borders,” Taiwan President Lai Ching-te said Wednesday.

“I also want to call on China to face up to the existence of the Republic of China and have exchanges and dialogue with Taiwan’s democratically elected, legitimate government,” he said, using Taiwan’s formal name. “If this is not done, relations between Taiwan and China will only become more and more estranged.”

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The Taiwanese government warned its citizens not to travel to mainland China on Thursday after Beijing threatened to execute residents who support the island’s independence. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

China has long considered Taiwan to be its territory, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has threatened to take the island by force in recent years.

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China’s Taiwan Affairs Office clarified on Wednesday that the threat of execution applies only to a small number of Taiwanese independence “diehards’ evil words and actions.”

Xi Jinping

China has long considered Taiwan to be its territory, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has threatened to take the island by force in recent years. (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)

The move is the latest escalation of tensions between Taipei and Beijing. Recent months have also seen China conduct extensive military drills surrounding the island. China has used the drills as intimidation, typically following events connecting the U.S. and Taiwan.

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China first conducted live-fire drills in 2022 after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. D-Calif., traveled to Taiwan. It was the first time a U.S. speaker visited the island in over 25 years. 

Chinese soldier looking through binoculars with a military ship in the background

Recent months have also seen China conduct extensive military drills surrounding the island, typically following events connecting the U.S. and Taiwan. (Lin Jian/Xinhua via AP)

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Beijing’s execution threat comes just days after the U.S. approved the sale of $360 million in drones, missiles and other equipment to Taiwan.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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