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Russia listing Taiwan as 'unfriendly nation' creates little impact: MOFA

Taiwan foreign ministry says Taiwan not dependent on Russia for resources and trade

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MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou. (Joanne Ou photo)

MOFA Spokesperson Joanne Ou. (Joanne Ou photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Russia’s inclusion of Taiwan as an “unfriendly nation” creates little impact on Taiwan’s economy and trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday (March 8).

In a press conference, MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the purpose behind Russia’s decision to announce such a list is to protect the Russian financial market in the face of international sanctions. The Russian government has decreed that “Russian citizens and companies, the state itself, its regions and municipalities that have foreign exchange obligations to foreign creditors from the list of unfriendly countries will be able to pay them in rubles.”

The procedure is temporary and “applies to payments exceeding 10 million rubles per month (or a similar amount in foreign currency),” according to the Russian News Agency (TASS). Ou said that additionally, all Russian businesses’ and individuals’ deals with nations and regions on the list must be approved by the Russian government.

“Russia is not a major supplier of industrial resources to Taiwan. Taiwan imports petroleum and natural gas from a variety of sources and does not depend on Russia,” Ou said. “In terms of trade and energy, Taiwan’s dependency on Russia is low.”

She said the government will continue to assess relevant developments and changes in international trade to ensure supply chains run smoothly and prices and markets remain stable. “The government will minimize any negative effect of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

Ou added that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) had also responded to concerns about Russia viewing Taiwan as “unfriendly,” saying the government will do all it can to assist affected businesses. According to Su, Taiwan’s representative office in Russia is still operating as usual; Ou said the government will prioritize equality when interacting with Russian agencies.