China accuses Taiwan for ‘taking advantage’ of Ukraine crisis by giving financial aid to its refugees

  • China criticized Taiwan on Wednesday for sending aid to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia, saying the island was “taking advantage of others’ difficulties.”
  • The allegation came after Taiwan announced an $11.5 million donation for displaced Ukrainians on Tuesday, following an initial donation of $3.5 million and salary pledges from top government officials.
  • China also said Taiwan “only has itself to blame” if it gets sanctioned by Russia. Last week, Russia added Taiwan to its list of “unfriendly” countries and territories.

China has accused Taiwan of using Ukraine for its own political advantage as the self-governed island delivers a new round of aid for refugees this week.

After an initial donation of $3.5 million, Taiwan is sending another $11.5 million to help displaced Ukrainians, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday. Earlier this month, President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang each pledged a month’s salary to donate to Ukrainian refugees.

Alongside government aid, the Taiwanese people have already donated critical supplies and more than $21.2 million to Ukraine, Tsai tweeted on Tuesday. They have also held protests in a show of solidarity.

China, on the other hand, pledged to donate $784,000 to Ukraine last week – the East Asian country’s first publicly announced form of aid since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24. However, Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow for its actions and has yet to label the crisis as an invasion.

At a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), criticized Taiwan for sending aid to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions against Russia. 

“The Democratic Progressive Party authorities are using the Ukraine issue to validate their existence and piggyback on a hot issue, taking advantage of others’ difficulties,” Zhu told reporters. “Their attempts to incite confrontation and create hostility through political manipulation will not succeed.”

Taiwan first announced its intention to join “democratic countries” in imposing sanctions against Russia on Feb. 25. Aside from strictly reviewing exports to Moscow — which amounted to $1.3 billion in 2021, or 0.76% of outbound sales — it is not clear exactly how Taipei plans to impact the Russian economy.

On Monday, China said Taiwan “has only itself to blame” if Russia imposes its own sanctions against the island. Taipei receives coal, petroleum, aluminum, iron and non-alloy steel semi-finished products from Moscow, but those imports reportedly account for less than 1% of the island’s total foreign trade.

“As to why Taiwan is on the list, the answer is clear to all. If Taiwan is sanctioned, it has only itself to blame,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said of the island, which made the Kremlin’s list of “unfriendly” countries and territories last week.

Taiwan has yet to respond to China’s latest allegation. Meanwhile, Russia has yet to impose sanctions on the island, and Russian forces have continued attacks on Ukrainian cities. On Wednesday, one resident was killed and three were injured by rocket debris in Kyiv, while hundreds reportedly fled a theater in Mariupol after it was bombed. 

 

Featured Image via CCTV Video News Agency (left), Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (right)

 

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