TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Sunday (Nov. 12) mocked China's government for lecturing Thailand over freedom of the press following his interview on a Thai television station.
Wu was interviewed by Thai Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) anchor Phongsathat Sukhaphong on Nov. 1 in Taipei, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). An interview segment was broadcast on Thai evening news under the headline "Taiwan's foreign minister assesses the development trends with China's military unification with Taiwan," on Nov. 3, and the complete interview was uploaded to the station's YouTube channel, as can be seen on this archived page.
During the interview, Wu said China is using various means such as military pressure, economic coercion, and international isolation in an attempt to force Taiwan to surrender utilizing the Sun Tzu lesson of "subduing the enemy without fighting." In the face of China's provocations, Wu said Taiwan has always played a responsible role, avoided becoming a party that provokes conflicts, and is willing to engage in cross-strait dialogue on the premise of equality.
Wu expressed Taiwan's desire to engage in dialogues with China and cited President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) 2023 National Day address as saying, “Peace is the only option for the two sides across the strait.” The minister described Chinese leader Xi Jinping's (習近平) calls in 2019 that Taiwan accepts the "one country, two systems" annexation framework as an attempt to turn Taiwan into a second Hong Kong.
On Saturday (Nov. 11), the Chinese embassy in Bangkok issued a statement on Facebook in which it characterized Wu as a "Taiwan independence separatist" who allegedly "propagated Taiwan independence fallacies" during the interview. It claimed that the Thai PBS interview with Wu "harmed China’s interests and hurt the Chinese people’s feelings."
The embassy said any action that "holds a candled to the devil" on issues tied to the territorial integrity of China and "separatism" contravenes the friendship between the Chinese and Thailand. It then warned, "Any practice that hurts (another) country and its people under the pretext of the freedom of press is merely an abuse of the freedom of press."
That same day, Chinese state-run mouthpiece the Global Times on X urged Thai PBS to "effectively correct relevant wrongdoings," including advocating the "fallacy of Taiwan independence." It repeated the embassy's claims that any practice that inflicts harm on another country under the guise of press freedom is "an abuse of press freedom."
Wu retweeted the Chinese embassy and Global Times' posts on Sunday and pointed out that although China has one of the lowest rankings in the world for press freedom, it "lectures the press in Thailand on how to be free." In the Reporters Without Borders' 2023 World Press Freedom Index, China fell four spots to 179th out of 180 countries and was described as the "world's biggest jailer of journalists and one of the biggest exporters of propaganda content."
Wu then called on Thais to toast over milk tea, a reference to the Milk Tea Alliance, an online coalition of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Myanmar. The foreign minister jokingly closed his post by telling Beijing to "kiss my feet and get out of town!"
As of Sunday, the video of Wu's interview with Thai PBS has been removed from public view on YouTube and the URL now leads to a blank page which reads, "Video unavailable. This video is private."
Too funny to be true!#China ranks the world’s worst in press freedom but lectures the press in #Thailand on how to be free. Let’s toast over milk tea & tell the #PRC to kiss my feet & get out of town! JW#MilkTeaAlliance#พันธมิตรชานม https://t.co/85aZElrvqk pic.twitter.com/TPrDUG1m4i— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) 〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕〔錯誤字元無法儲存〕 (@MOFA_Taiwan) November 12, 2023