TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan hopes that the world would sanction China like it is sanctioning Russia for its war on Ukraine if Beijing invaded the island, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Saturday.
Taiwan has joined in Western-led sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and on Friday added Belarus to that list.
The moves are largely symbolic given Taiwan’s minimal levels of direct trade with Belarus or Russia.
But Ukraine’s plight has won broad public sympathy in Taiwan due to what many people view as the parallels between what is happening in the European country and what could happen if China ever uses force to bring the island it claims as its own under Chinese control.
Speaking to reporters in Taipei at an event to mark the founding of what would become the European Union, Wu said it was important to stand with others in denouncing the invasion and sanctioning both Russia and Belarus.
“In the future, if we are threatened with force by China, or are invaded, of course we hope the international community can understand and support Taiwan, and sanction these kinds of aggressive behaviours,” he added.
“So Taiwan stands with the international community, and takes these actions,” Wu said, referring to the sanctions.
Taiwan has raised its alert level since the Ukraine war began, wary of China making a similar move, though the government in Taipei has reported no signs of an imminent Chinese attack.
China, which has not condemned Russia’s invasion, has dismissed any comparisons with Taiwan, saying it is not a country and merely a Chinese province, a view the democratically-elected government in Taipei strongly disputes.
Speaking at the same event, Taiwan parliament speaker You Si-kun said Ukraine has “performed very well”, standing up to Russia for more than 70 days, earning Taiwan’s “admiration”.
“We hope Ukraine will definitely be victorious, and stand firm to the end to victory.”
How the world would react to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan is unclear, given that most countries, including the United States and all EU member states only have formal diplomatic ties with Beijing, not Taipei, and unlike Ukraine do not recognise Taiwan as a country.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)