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India-Taiwan ties threat to Sino-Indian relations: Chinese Experts

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BEIJING, Dec 20 (APP):India and Taiwan island have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote mutual industrial cooperation, an alarming move that could sabotage the recent smoothing of Sino-Indian relations, said Chinese experts.

According to a statement on Taiwan’s “ministry of foreign affairs” website, Taipei Economic Cultural Center in Delhi representative Chung-Kwang Tien and Director General of the India-Taipei Association Sridharan Madhusudhanan signed the MoU to deepen two-way exchanges and cooperation between India and Taiwan.

“It is a classic move of Tsai Ing-wen and the ‘ruling’ Democratic Progressive Party, as they constantly tout their dangerous political agenda of ‘Taiwan-independence’ and are afraid of being exposed and challenged in a bigger context outside the island,” Hu Shiqing, a researcher at the Taiwan Studies Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

Since Tsai pushed forward the New Southbound Policy in May 2016, five cooperative documents have been signed between the two sides, serving as evidence of the strengthened relations and the potentiality of deepening cooperation in all fields, the statement said.

India is Taiwan’s 18th largest trading partner, and the total volume of two-way trade exceeded $4.7 billion in the first nine months of 2017, a 40 percent year-on-year increase, according to the statement.

India is using the Taiwan question as a bargaining chip in exchange for China’s support and concession on its own territorial disputes. It is also possible that India is staying close with Taiwan to serve as a friendly signal toward the US, which just released a new national security strategy branding China as a “rival power,” Wang Dehua, head of the Institute for South and Central Asian Studies at the Shanghai Municipal Center for International Studies, told the Global Times.

The move is again testing Sino-Indian ties, and is harmful to both sides in the long run. It also came shortly after the Russia-India-China foreign ministerial meeting was held in the Indian capital on December 11, which was believed to have smoothed over Sino-Indian relations after the Doklam standoff between the two sides, Wang said.

Qian Feng, a researcher of the Chinese Association for South Asian Studies told the Global Times that as Taiwan has made efforts to strengthen ties with New Delhi over the past years, the South Asian power should be smart and cautious in order to avoid challenging China’s bottom line and one-China policy.

China does not take such situations related to its core interests lightly, Qian said.

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