Taiwan accuses China of interference with press freedom

Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) (Photo courtesy of CNA)

Taipei, June 28 (CNA) Taipei on Thursday called it unacceptable interference with Japan’s and Taiwan’s freedom of the press and speech after China lodged a protest with a Japanese newspaper for an interview it published with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) the previous day.

In the interview with Sankei Shimbun, Wu called for a Taiwan-Japan security dialogue in light of increased activity by China’s armed forces in the Western Pacific in recent years and the threat this poses to both countries.

The newspaper described Wu’s call as a rare move, as Taiwan has no diplomatic relations with Japan. It said Wu expressed hope that Taiwan and Japan can strengthen bilateral relations in response to China’s frequent military movements near Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of CNA

However, later that day, the Sankei Shimbun’s online edition reported that the Chinese Embassy in Japan had lodged a protest, saying that Taiwan is part of China and condemning the report for advocating Taiwan independence.

In response, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章), said the protest is an instance of Chinese interference with freedom of the press and speech in Japan and Taiwan, calling it unacceptable to Taiwan.

Lee said China’s move poses a serious threat to the universal values of freedom and democracy and called on like-minded countries to work together to prevent the spread of China’s influence.

(By Elaine Hou and Evelyn Kao)