'Next HK' threat worries Taiwan

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 12 Aug 2020

China is trying to turn democratic Taiwan into another Hong Kong, the island's foreign minister warned yesterday as he met a senior US official making a historic diplomatic trip.

A crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong has gathered pace since China imposed a security law in June, with opposition politicians disqualified and activists arrested.

That has caused alarm in Taiwan, a self-ruled island of 23 million people that Beijing claims as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan lives under the constant threat of having its freedoms taken away by China, during a rare meeting with US cabinet official Alex Azar in Taipei yesterday.

"Our lives have become increasingly difficult as China continues to pressure Taiwan into accepting its political conditions that will turn Taiwan into the next Hong Kong," he said.

"The people of Taiwan are all too familiar with dealing with threats, be it military, diplomatic or the threats of epidemics."

Taiwanese parties have rejected "one country, two systems" model.

Health Secretary Azar is in Taipei for a three-day visit billed as the highest-level visit from the US since it switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979.

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