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Taiwan slams Singapore ex-foreign minister for 'Chinese Commonwealth' comments

MOFA says Yeo's comments are 'completely inconsistent with the facts, clearly biased'

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (left) gives thumbs-up gesture with George Yeo.

Former President Ma Ying-jeou (left) gives thumbs-up gesture with George Yeo. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) condemned Singapore’s former Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeo (楊榮文) as acting as a "mouthpiece" for China and aiding in spreading Beijing propaganda with his recent recommendations that Taiwan join a "commonwealth" with China and head on a "One China" path.

In an interview with This Week in Asia in August, Yeo downplayed the impact of the Taiwan presidential election on China-U.S. relations and claimed "Taiwan is only a piece on the chessboard." During his keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum in Taipei on Wednesday (Sept. 13), Yeo suggested Taiwan join with China in a "Chinese commonwealth" to avoid a cross-strait conflict.

Yeo accused former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of exploiting Taiwan during her visit in August 2022 and claimed the Taiwanese government was "not so willing" to receive her. He purported that the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is actually unsustainable and said Taiwan should work to achieve a "'One China' future."

In a press release issued on Thursday (Sept. 14), MOFA said Yeo's remarks about the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan-U.S. relations at the Asia-Pacific Forward Forum are "completely inconsistent with the facts, clearly biased, and vastly different from the understanding of most democratic countries in the region." The ministry said that Yeo's personal opinions not only fail to contribute to regional peace and stable development, but also harm the positive development of Taiwan-U.S. relations and Taiwan-Singapore relations.

MOFA expressed its deep regret over Yeo's comments and urged avoiding turning public opinions into a "mouthpiece for authoritarian China." The ministry said it welcomes friends from all over the world to visit Taiwan and "witness firsthand Taiwan's steadfast efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, as well as to defend democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law."

Referring to Yeo, the ministry also expressed the hope that foreign visitors who are invited to Taiwan to attend events will have an "accurate understanding of the developments in the international and regional situation, and demonstrate respect for the host country and adhere to basic diplomatic etiquette." It concluded by saying, "This is to avoid being perceived as assisting the Chinese government in its propaganda efforts and making inappropriate remarks ... leading to social divisions and misunderstandings in Taiwanese society."