China throws tantrum over former Canadian PM's visit to Taiwan

Beijing cries foul over former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper's visit to Taiwan

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Harper (left), Tsai (right).

Harper (left), Tsai (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China complained on Monday (Oct. 14) about a visit former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper made to Taiwan last week.

On Oct. 8, Harper joined a delegation of foreign representatives in attending the annual Yushan Forum (玉山論壇) in Taipei, where he met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). Harper's trip marked the first by a former Canadian prime minister to Taipei.

In a statement released to The Globe and Mail on Monday, China's Foreign Ministry bitterly complained about Harper's trip, saying that "China expresses strong dissatisfaction with the relevant Canadian person’s visit to Taiwan and has lodged serious representations to the Canadian side." The Foreign Ministry went on to add, "We urge Canada to fully recognize the sensitivity and complexity of the Taiwan issue, to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and properly handle Taiwan-related issues."

During his speech at the Yushan Forum, Harper spoke indirectly about the communist country when he criticized nations whose "trade strategy is about accumulating perpetual large surpluses with other countries," according to The Globe and Mail. Harper also predicted that, beyond the U.S., other Western powers will eventually retaliate against such unfair trade practices: "Frankly, I will predict that the backlash will be bigger from Western countries than anything we have seen so far."

China's protest of the former Canadian leader's visit follows a recent pattern of criticizing and punishing countries for sending delegations to Taiwan. On Sunday, an op-ed by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) revealed that the communist regime had denied entry visas to a U.S. congressional delegation in retaliation for their planned trip to Taiwan.

In the op-ed, Maloney wrote that the denial of visas was clearly punishment for the scheduled trip: "We were barred from the country for one reason only — our planned visit to Taiwan." Maloney described Beijing's new tactic as "visa blackmail, designed to stanch the longstanding tradition of robust U.S. congressional engagement with Taiwan."