Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu angers Beijing with call for 'genuine' Hong Kong polls

In a tweet, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said it was time for Hong Kong's leaders to grant universal suffrage, a core demand of protesters.
In a tweet, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said it was time for Hong Kong's leaders to grant universal suffrage, a core demand of protesters.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

TAIPEI • Taiwan's Foreign Minister yesterday called for "genuine" democratic elections to be held in Hong Kong after the city was rocked by fresh political violence, comments that infuriated Beijing.

In a tweet yesterday, Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said it was time for the city's leaders to grant universal suffrage, a core demand of protesters.

"It is sad to see the rule of law eroding and the divide between the people and the government widening in Hong Kong," Mr Wu said as he accompanied President Tsai Ing-wen in a stopover in Denver in the United States on their way back from a visit to diplomatic allies in the Caribbean.

"The way forward is genuine democratic elections, not violence in the streets and MTR stations. The freedom and human rights of the people must be protected," he added.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party yesterday also condemned the Hong Kong authorities.

"The Hong Kong government has been unwilling to listen to Hong Kong people's calls for de-mocracy. This is a main cause of increasing social disturbance there," party spokesman Lee Yen-jong said in a statement.

Taiwan is gearing up for a presidential election where a dominant issue will be relations with the mainland - which sees the self-ruled island as its own territory and has vowed to seize it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing: "I just want to remind some people on the island not to make irresponsible remarks about Hong Kong affairs in order to promote their own existence and to attract the world's attention."

"These little tricks are doomed to be unsuccessful," Mr Geng added.

 

Ties with Beijing have deteriorated since Ms Tsai came to power in 2016 because her party refuses to recognise the idea that Taiwan is part of "one China".

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2019, with the headline 'Taiwan minister angers Beijing with call for 'genuine' HK polls'. Print Edition | Subscribe