Taiwanese staff to leave Hong Kong office in 'one China' row

Taiwanese staff working at theisland's representative office in Hong Kong will begin leavingthe Chinese-run city from Sunday, a senior official said, afterthe government there demanded its officials sign a documentsupporting Beijing's claim to Taiwan.

Chinese-ruled Hong Kong has become another bone ofcontention between Taipei and Beijing, especially after Taiwanlambasted a security law imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing andbegan welcoming Hong Kongers to settle on the island.

Lin Fei-fan, deputy secretary general of Taiwan's rulingDemocratic Progressive Party, said only local staff would remainat the office.

"This is because the Chinese Communist Party and the HongKong government continue to force our personnel stationed inHong Kong to sign a 'one China commitment letter' to recognise'one China'," he said on his Facebook page.

"As a political prerequisite for the visa renewal, we willof course not accept it!"

China sees democratically-ruled Taiwan as part of "oneChina" and has never renounced the use of force to bring theisland under its control.

Lin said Taiwan would never accept "one China" or "onecountry, two systems", Beijing's way of running Hong Kong underChinese sovereignty it hopes to one day apply to the island.

A senior Taiwan official familiar with the matter toldReuters seven Taiwan officials will return on Sunday afternoon,with the last remaining official to come back after visa expirynext month.

In a statement earlier on Sunday, Taiwan's Mainland AffairsCouncil said that since July 2018 the Hong Kong government has"repeatedly set unreasonable political conditions for staffvisas for our Hong Kong office, demanding the signing of a 'OneChina Commitment Letter'".

Starting from Monday, the Hong Kong office will "adjust itsbusiness handling method," it added, saying the office willmaintain "necessary operations".

Taiwanese staff will not sign any such "one China" letter,it added.

Last month, Hong Kong suspended operations at its Taiwanrepresentative office, blaming Taipei's "gross" interference ininternal affairs, including with its offer to assist "violent"protesters, accusations Taiwan rejected.

Macau's government followed suit on Wednesday.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:18:39 PM |

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