Taiwan warns of counter measures if new Hong Kong law causes ‘damage’

This handout picture taken and released on May 20, 2020 by the Taiwan Presidential office shows Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaking at the Taipei Guest House as part of her inauguration for her second term as in office, in Taipei. – Beijing must find a way to live peacefully alongside a democratic Taiwan that will never accept Chinese rule, President Tsai Ing-wen said May 20 in an inauguration speech that also celebrated the island’s successful fight against the coronavirus. (Photo by Handout / Taiwan Presidential Office / AFP) 

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-gwen on Tuesday warned of “counter measures” should a sweeping security law China imposed on Hong Kong “damage” the island.

The new law has sent chills through self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing regards as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize, by force if necessary.

Beijing has taken an especially hardline towards Taiwan ever since the 2016 election of Tsai because she regards the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China.”

Taiwan’s government has condemned Beijing’s security law, which claims global jurisdiction and demands foreign and Taiwanese political organisations provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities or risk criminal penalty and fine.

“If the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong were to cause any damage to our country or cause any irrational situation, we would consider counter measures,” Tsai told reporters without elaborating.

She added Taiwan was “closely monitoring the execution of the national security law”.

Since 2016 Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on the island.

Nonetheless Tsai won a landslide reelection in January and has remained a staunch critic of Beijing’s clampdown against Hong Kong protesters.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top China policy body, on Tuesday warned Beijing and Hong Kong governments not to “violate the rights” of Taiwanese groups and institutions in the city.

“The Hong Kong side should ensure that our institutions in Hong Kong will not suffer from any political interferences,” it said in a statement.

Taiwan’s government has a trade and cultural office in Hong Kong handling unofficial ties.

But it has been devoid of a chief since mid-2018 as Hong Kong has yet to issue a visa amid worsening ties between Taipei and Beijing, as well as Taiwan’s support for the city’s pro-democracy movement.

© Agence France-Presse