Taiwan brushes aside Cambodia’s ban of its flag

Taipei--Taiwan was unwilling on Tuesday to call out Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen for his recent vow to ban Taiwan's national flag in his country because of Cambodia's "one China" policy.

"The ministry will have no comment on the Cambodian prime minister's related remarks," said Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (???).

"As a sovereign, independent country, Taiwan is devoted to safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. It is willing to establish friendly and cooperative relations with countries in the region, including Cambodia, for mutual benefit," Wang said.

"That policy has not changed."

Speaking at a dinner held by the Cambodian-Chinese Association on Saturday, Hun Sen said Cambodia welcomes Taiwanese businessmen to invest in his country but it will ban Taiwan's flag because Cambodia follows the "one China" policy promoted by Beijing.

Wang also appeared unwilling to upset Phnom Penh when she would not answer a question on whether Cambodia has rejected Taiwan's bid to open an office there in the past, as has been reported.

She would only say that the ministry cannot set up representative offices in every country of the world but has designated areas of jurisdiction for its existing offices to help Taiwanese nationals in as many places as possible.

Cambodia currently falls under the jurisdiction of Taiwan's office in southern Vietnam -- the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ho Chi Minh City.

In view of Hun Sen's comments, a legislator from the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) has expressed the hope that Beijing can "calm down" and "not be so nervous" over cross-strait ties given that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ethnically Chinese.

Liao Kuo-tung (???), party whip of the KMT legislative caucus, said Hun Sen's declaration must have been made at China's request, because the two countries have close relations and Cambodia would have complied with such a request from Beijing.

But Liao urged a new approach on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and he called on China to calm down and not make the situation any worse by putting added pressure on Taiwan.

He also urged Taiwan's government to review the situation in search of a way to improve the situation.

Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (???) of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party said Taiwan is facing tremendous pressure on its diplomatic front and that Cambodia had such close relations with China that it was bound to follow Beijing's tune.

But he also believed that China's high-handed policy will not cut into the sense of solidarity overseas Taiwanese businessmen feel toward their home country.

He called on the government to determine whether leaders of other nations will also be pressured by China and raise similar unreasonable requests and be prepared with appropriate responses at the national security level.

China has ratcheted up its diplomatic pressure on Taiwan since the pro-independence DPP administration took office on May 20, 2016.

The pressure has even led one of Taiwan's few allies in Africa -- Sao Tome and Principe -- to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China in December.

After losing Sao Tome and Principe, Taiwan now has two African diplomatic allies -- Swaziland and Burkina Faso -- among its remaining total of 21, most of which are Central American and Pacific island countries.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel