Toronto: A 10-member delegation of Canadian MPs has reached Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in an effort to strengthen relations with the South-East Asian nation.
The delegation reached Taipei on Sunday. In a Facebook announcement related to the visit, the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei said that “their visit will help strengthen the bilateral relationship between Canada and Taiwan. We hope that many more delegations will join in the near future!”
Their visit comes after China conducted military exercises in the vicinity of Taiwan in recent days, after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visited Central America and the United States.
The Canadian MPs will meet with President Tsai as well as Vice-President Lai Ching-te, as well as business community representatives and local non-governmental organisations.
The delegation, which includes MPs from all major political parties, is led by John McKay, an MP from the ruling Liberal Party, who is also Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
The outlet Global News reported the group consists of three Liberal MPs, four Conservatives, two New Democratic Party and one from the Bloc Quebecois.
While China has yet to respond to the visit by the Canadian delegation, it had recently reacted with vehemence to a recent interim report from the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canada-People’s Republic of China Relationship, titled Canada and Taiwan: A Strong Relationship in Turbulent Times.
Released on March 30, that report “highlights both Canada’s strong ties with Taiwan, as well as the importance of reinforcing support for Taiwan in the face of ongoing tensions surrounding its future”, a release at the time noted. It outlined “how Canada can strengthen its engagement with Taiwan while adhering to its one China policy” and “the need for Canada and its allies to further opportunities for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in multilateral organisations and encourages parliamentary and diplomatic visits to Taiwan”.
It recommended that “Canada publicly call on the People’s Republic of China to refrain from escalating military threats in the region”.
In an angry reaction, the spokesperson for China’s Embassy in Ottawa had stated that the “Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair”, adding, “Some Canadian politicians have been getting swayed by the US and making trouble on Taiwan-related issues. This once again shows that those who are making provocations are not China, but some external forces including Canada, the US, and the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence”.