China threatens India's media again after Taiwan minister's interview

China describes program featuring Foreign Minister Joseph Wu as 'openly advocating Taiwan independence'

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Joseph Wu speaks with Geeta Mohan on Oct. 15 (YouTube, World Today screenshot)

Joseph Wu speaks with Geeta Mohan on Oct. 15 (YouTube, World Today screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Beijing has once again attempted to tell India's media what to say about Taiwan, with the Chinese embassy in New Delhi on Friday (Oct. 16) remonstrating about an interview with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on an India TV channel.

During the interview on Thursday with Geeta Mohan, host of the program “World Today” on the channel India Today, Wu said he appreciated that India's press had not caved into China. He also thanked the Indian public for celebrating Taiwan’s National Day, which took place last week.

Wu had referred to a Chinese embassy warning the previous week not to refer to Taiwan as a country or introduce Taiwan’s president, as the president. However, the warning backfired, with Indian news outlets disregarding the warning and reporting on Taiwan's National Day on Oct. 10 — while Indian officials expressed support for its free press.

Even so, on Friday the Chinese embassy added fuel to the fire with a statement criticizing India Today’s interview with Wu. Saying the interview “openly advocated Taiwan independence,” Chinese Embassy Spokesperson Ji Rong said the government had lodged a complaint.

“It seriously violated the one China principle and provoked China’s bottom line, disregarding the long-standing position of the Indian government,” said Ji. “We urge the relevant Indian media to take a correct stance on issues of core interests concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, adhere to the one China principle, not to provide platform for Taiwan independence forces, and avoid sending wrong messages to the public.”

Relations between China and India have sunk to new depths following border clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in the Ladakh region early this year. India's media and the population seem to have found themselves an informal ally in Taiwan, which has long faced military coercion from China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

In the meantime, Taiwan officials have also seized the opportunity to promote closer Taiwan-India ties and put pressure on Beijing. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), for instance, has posted three tweets in the past two weeks greeting Indian netizens and expressing her fondness for Indian food and culture.

In the Thursday interview, Wu said Taiwan, India, Japan, and countries in the South China Sea face "the expansionism of the authoritarian Chinese communist party." He called on democracies and countries sharing similar values to work together on this issue and explore areas of cooperation.

When asked if Taiwan's authorities would seek formal diplomatic recognition from the Indian government, Wu did not respond directly. Instead, he said Taiwan is ambitious about forging closer ties with India, particularly in the field of business and supply chains.