Meenakshi Lekhi was among the BJP MPs who’virtually’ participated in the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ingwen on Wednesday
NEW DELHI: Asking India to refrain from interfering in its “internal” affairs, the Chinese have taken umbrage at BJP MPs Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan’s “virtual participation” in the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday.
Lekhi and Kaswan had “virtually attended” Tsai’s swearing-in and sent congratulations after she was sworn in for a second term. The two MPs were among 92 dignitaries, including US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, representing 41 countries, who virtually participated in the ceremony.
Liu Bing, counsellor (parliament) of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, registered a protest against India’s participation in the ceremony by writing to Lekhi and Kaswan. In his complaint, Liu called Lekhi and Kaswan’s congratulatory message to Tsai “utterly wrong” which, he sought to be “corrected”.
“The one-China principle, enshrined by the UN Charter and its relevant resolutions, is a generally recognised norm in international relations and a general consensus of the international community,” he said. The Chinese indignation is significant in view of its tensions with Taiwan and India’s support for Taiwan’s claim for re-admission to WHO.
However, Kaswan defended his action and said it was consistent with India’s stand. He said the facts were being “twisted” by the Chinese and “blown out of proportion”. “I had sent a congratulatory message to the Taiwan president, which I feel doesn’t violate India’s stated position on the subject,” Kaswan said, refraining to comment any further saying the issue was between two nations.
Even as the Indian government did not take part in the event officially, presence of the two MPs had irked Chinese authorities, who raised objections the same day, although they didn’t name the two MPs. The Chinese foreign ministry had said its country hoped that everyone would “support the just cause of Chinese people to oppose the secessionist activities for Taiwan independence and realise national reunification”. Liu reminded the BJP MPs that “Indian governments have pledged to adhere to one-China principle since bilateral ties were established 70 years ago”.
“Any wrong signals” including the message of congratulation to President Tsai, Liu warned, “will encourage those separatists to go even further on the wrong and dangerous track, which would undermine peace and prosperity of the region”. He urged the BJP MPs to “refrain from such acts and instead support China’s great cause of unification”.