Change in Netherlands' office name in Taiwan is “playing with fire,” poses risk to ties with Chinese mainland: experts

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/1 18:53:05

Photo taken on July 21, 2019 from Xiangshan Mountain shows the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan.Photo:Xinhua

The Netherlands took down a video clip in which it changed the trade and investment in Taiwan to the Netherlands office Taipei a day after the video was released. Chinese experts warned that the country's move is "playing with fire" and poses a risk to ties with the Chi-nese mainland. 

The Netherlands trade and investment office in Taiwan island confirmed on Thursday that it had taken down a video in which it announced the office's name being changed from the previous "Netherlands Trade and Investment Office" to the "Netherlands Office Taipei." 

"By taking out the words 'trade and invest-ment,' we have become more inclusive of all the other areas we are collaborating with. So clearly, less here is much more," Guy Wittich, the head of the office, had said in the video.

However, the video was taken down one day after it was released. "The video was always meant to be available only for one day so it can be watched and serve its original pur-pose," the office was cited by Taipei-based CNA as saying.

Renaming the "Netherlands Trade and Invest-ment Office" may imply the country's intention to seek cooperation with the Taiwan island beyond "trade" to fields of "diplomacy" or "na-tional security," which is a provocative move to the Chinese mainland. The Netherlands, at the same time, lowered the recognition of Taiwan island to "Taipei" in this name changing game, experts noted. 

Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Friday that "the Netherlands tries to please both the Chi-nese mainland and Taiwan island in this game, but it is playing with fire and puts relations with the Chinese mainland at risk."

Unlike the US, which frequently aggressively provokes the Taiwan question, the Nether-lands would not dare to have such a bold move of challenging the Chinese mainland. Their little trick is crystal clear for the Chinese mainland and should be condemned, Xin said, calling on the Netherlands to give an explana-tion.

Despite that the video clip that boasted the ties between the Taiwan island and the Neth-erlands was only available online for one day, the Taiwan authorities could not help showing their glee at this minor benefit offered by the Netherlands. The incident was also taken as a stunt by the Taiwan authorities to fool Taiwan people, which was only "self-deceive and hi-larious," Xin said.

Xin said Taiwan authorities only have to look for self-presence in the international commu-nity from this little wording game as its so-called diplomatic presence continues to shrink since Tsai Ing-wen became the leader. 

Taiwan was left with "diplomatic ties" with only 15 countries around the world.

The Netherlands' move may trigger similar dangerous moves from other European coun-tries they may step into the grey area to chal-lenge the one-China principle, which is entire-ly unacceptable, Xin noted. 

The Chinese Embassy in the Netherlands pre-viously requested clarification of the matter. The embassy stressed that the Taiwan ques-tion concerns China's core interests, and ad-hering to the one-China principle is the politi-cal foundation for developing China-Netherlands relations. 

Chinese netizens irritated by the Netherlands' move called on the Chinese companies to immediately stop exporting medical supplies to the country, and appealed to others to boycott all Dutch products and cancel their travel plans to the country. 


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