China blasts Danish conference with Taiwan President as 'political farce'

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province that will one day return under its control. PHOTO: REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (AFP) - China on Tuesday (May 11) blasted a democracy conference in Copenhagen attended by Taiwan's President and a Hong Kong activist alongside Danish government officials this week, calling it a "political farce".

The Copenhagen Democracy Summit was held on Monday and Tuesday in the Danish capital and organised by the Alliance of Democracies, an organisation targeted by Beijing sanctions in March and founded by former Nato boss Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

In addition to Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and Hong Kong democracy activist Nathan Law, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod participated in the forum by video link, which Beijing said violated "the one-China principle".

"This summit is a political farce," the Chinese embassy in Denmark wrote in a statement published on Tuesday.

"Inviting those who advocate Taiwan and Hong Kong 'independence' to the meeting violates the one-China principle and interferes in China's internal affairs," it said.

"Some hypocritical Western politicians are good at meddling in other countries' internal affairs and creating divisions and confrontation in the name of 'democracy' and 'freedom'. They are bound to fail," it added.

At the conference on Monday, Mr Kofod said it was "deplorable" that Beijing had imposed sanctions on 10 European individuals and organisations in response to European Union sanctions on Xinjiang officials over their actions against the Uighur Muslim minority.

Like most countries, Denmark applies the one-China principle - under which Beijing bars other countries from having simultaneous diplomatic relations with Taipei - though it does maintain relations with Taiwan.

Cut off politically from the rest of China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the territory is self-governing but is not recognised by the United Nations.

Beijing considers Taiwan a rebel province that will one day return under its control, by force if necessary.

China's sabre-rattling has increased considerably over the past year, with fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers breaching Taiwan's air defence zone on a near-daily basis.

"Our government is fully aware of the threats to regional security, and is actively enhancing our national defence capabilities to protect our democracy," Ms Tsai told the conference in a video address on Monday.

United States President Joe Biden is expected to present his China strategy soon, as calls mount for him to publicly commit to defending Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack.

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