The outgoing president of Micronesia has accused China of participating in “political warfare” within the Pacific, in an explosive letter advocating for the the dissolution of diplomatic ties with Beijing.
In the 13-page letter, which Mahaz News has obtained, David Panuelo alleges China is making ready to invade the self-ruled island of Taiwan, and has engaged in bribery, political interference and even “direct threats” to make sure the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) stays impartial within the occasion of battle.
China dismissed the letter’s contents as “smears and accusations.”
“I would like to emphasize that China has always upheld the equality of all countries – no matter their size – and has always respected how Micronesia chooses its own development, based on its own circumstances,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated Friday in a daily press briefing.
Panuelo, who has beforehand been vital of Beijing’s actions within the Pacific area, revealed he had thought-about switching diplomatic recognition to Taipei.
“China is seeking to ensure that, in the event of a war in our Blue Pacific continent between themselves and Taiwan, that the FSM is, at best, aligned with the PRC (China) instead of the United States, and, at worst, that the FSM chooses to ‘abstain’ altogether,” he wrote.
The Chinese Communist Party claims the self-ruling democracy of Taiwan as its personal territory – regardless of having by no means ruled it – and has refused to rule out the usage of power to “reunify” it with mainland China.
Panuelo additionally accused China of “political warfare” in his nation, which he claimed included overt actions – corresponding to political alliances, financial measures and public propaganda – and clandestine acts corresponding to “bribery, psychological warfare, and blackmail”.
“One of the reasons that China’s political warfare is successful in so many arenas is that we are bribed to be complicit, and bribed to be silent. That’s a heavy word, but it is an accurate description regardless,” he wrote within the letter.
Mahaz News has reached out to Panuelo an Taiwan’s overseas ministry for remark.
Panuelo, whose time period in workplace is about to run out in two months after dropping his seat within the latest normal election, has been president of Micronesia since 2019.
He has beforehand spoken out on China’s rising affect within the South Pacific, together with warning in opposition to Beijing’s proposal of a sweeping regional safety take care of 10 Pacific Island nations.
Last May, in a separate letter to 22 Pacific leaders seen by Mahaz News, Panuelo stated the draft proposal was supposed to shift Pacific Island nations with diplomatic ties to China “very close into Beijing’s orbit.”
He argued that along with impacting the sovereignty of Pacific Island nations, signing such an settlement may carry a couple of new “Cold War” amid tensions between China and the West.
China in the end failed in its bid to strike the safety pact with Pacific Island nations.
The launch of Panuelo’s newest – and most explosive – letter comes amid heightened concern from regional powers over Beijing’s ambitions within the Indo-Pacific.
The Pacific Islands’ location, largely to the northeast of Australia, means the island nations have lengthy been seen by army strategists as an important connecting thread between the US territory of Guam and US-allied Australia.
Both the US and Australia are cautious of a China that has grown more and more assertive within the South China Sea extending its attain additional west into Pacific waters, together with towards the FSM, an archipelago of greater than 600 islands.
Meanwhile, the island nations themselves – usually extra involved in regards to the ravages of local weather change than geopolitics – have been cautious of being seen as pawns in a terrific energy wrestle.
China’s curiosity in constructing rapport with the Pacific Islands international locations just isn’t new.
In the early 2000s, because the US was turning its consideration towards perceived threats within the Middle East, a newly outward-looking China was beginning on a path to change into an financial and diplomatic associate for Pacific island international locations.
A focus of Beijing’s outreach was to win associates away from Taiwan, which is now solely formally acknowledged by 4 of 14 South Pacific nations, after the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched allegiance to China in 2019.
In latest years, as Beijing has pursued a extra assertive overseas coverage and expanded improvement funding globally in a bid to reinforce its worldwide sway, its visibility within the Pacific Islands, too, has grown.
China has backed extensively publicized initiatives in some Pacific Island international locations – a nationwide sports activities stadium to host the Pacific Games within the Solomon Islands, highways in Papua New Guinea, bridges in Fiji – and despatched high-level envoys to the area, together with two visits from Chinese chief Xi Jinping, as soon as in 2014 and once more in 2018.
It’s additionally change into a significant buying and selling associate for Pacific Island economies.
Source web site: www.cnn.com