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Taiwan backs Australian wine campaign in stand against China

ROC Central News Agency

12/02/2020 09:14 PM

Taipei, Dec. 2 (CNA) Taiwanese diplomats and officials are taking part in a global campaign to purchase Australian wines as the country stands against intense pressure from China, which has imposed heavy taxes on Australian wine as Sino-Australia tension has intensified.

The global campaign was launched on Tuesday by the Inter- Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), which represents more than 200 parliamentarians from 19 countries around the world, in response to the latest round of Chinese sanctions on Australian products, with the wine industry among the worst-hit and facing tariffs of up to 212 percent.

The campaign was announced in a video calling for IPAC members to give up their usual beverages in favor of Australian wine to stand in solidarity with Australia against China's economic bullying.

Showing support for the campaign, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) tweeted Wednesday that "we stand in solidarity with Australia by serving Freedom Wine at MOFA Taiwan," along with the hashtag #StrongerTogether﹒

The tweet was accompanied by a photograph showing a person holding two bottles of Australian wine.

In a similar gesture, the nation's embassy to the Holy See posted a photo on its Facebook page Tuesday showing Ambassador Mathew Lee (李世明) holding a case box of Australian red wine he had bought.

The post quoted Pope Francis' latest encyclical "All Brothers" to point out that "Fraternity is not a trend or fashion...but the result of concrete acts" and included the hashtag "SolidaritywithAustralia."

Also taking part in the campaign is Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who retweeted IPAC's post of the campaign Tuesday, with the comment: "Thinking of stocking up on Australian wine."

In Taipei, ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩), who serves as head of the Australia-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, publicly called on the Taiwanese public to show support for the campaign by buying Australian wine.

Asked to comment on the issue on Wednesday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Australia and Taiwan are like-minded countries that share common values of freedom, democracy and human rights.

The two nations have maintained close economic and trade ties, while the Australian government also supports Taiwan's participation in the international arena.

"Taiwan's government and people empathize with the same feeling of tremendous pressure that Australia faces. The government supports Australia and is mulling what measures are most appropriate to be taken to make the Australian people feel the warmth from Taiwan," she said.

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation published earlier Wednesday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said other nations must support Australia and resist Chinese pressure, when asked to comment on Beijing's latest sanctions against Canberra.

"We shouldn't allow China to conduct [this] kind of warfare against Australia," he said. "The Australian strategy is a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific. And I think this is the strategy that is in line with many other like-minded countries."

Relations between China and Australia have deteriorated to their lowest point this year as the latter backed a global inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 that singled out China.

Since then, China has launched a series of strategic trade sanctions against Australian imports, while Chinese students and tourists have been warned against traveling to Australia, citing fears of racism.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)


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