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Chinese embassy warns Swedish city against closer ties with Taiwan

Swedish politicians fear Volvo jobs at risk

Nordstaden in Gothenburg, Sweden. (logopop photo)

Nordstaden in Gothenburg, Sweden. (logopop photo) (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Chinese embassy in Sweden warned the Gothenburg City Council as it considered concluding sister city agreements with Taiwan to reduce its reliance on China, reports said Friday (Feb. 9).

Members of two parties at the council in Sweden’s second-largest city submitted a motion to expand its foreign relations, per CNA. However, the move caught the attention of the Chinese embassy in Stockholm.

The mission sent an e-mail to the Gothenburg City Council, warning it should adhere to the One China principle, Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China, the Goteborgs-Posten reported. The politicians should handle the “Taiwan issue” correctly, as it was at the very core of China’s interests, the embassy said.

While Gothenburg and Shanghai were sister cities, there were rising suspicions about national security threats from China’s investments. Several Swedish cities have ended sister relations with Chinese cities, but Gothenburg has economic factors to consider.

China’s Geely owns Gothenburg-based carmaker Volvo Car Corporation, leaving more than 10,000 jobs at risk if relations between the two countries deteriorate. As a result, opinions at the city council were divided about whether to deal with the issue or leave it up to the central government.

Taiwan’s envoy to Sweden, Klement Gu (谷瑞生), called on the mayor of Gothenburg to visit Taiwan and witness the country’s economy, culture, and education. Bilateral relations should not be subject to interference by China, he said.