Indian media is free, says in MEA response to Chinese Embassy’s note to press on Taiwan

October 08, 2020 10:34 pm | Updated October 09, 2020 12:14 am IST - NEW DELHI

The exchanges took place hours after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in the Quad ministerial meeting. File

The exchanges took place hours after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in the Quad ministerial meeting. File

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday reiterated that the Indian media is free and it reports on issues on merit. The Ministry spokesperson’s response came a day after the Chinese Embassy sent an email to around 250 journalists asking them not to refer to Taiwan as a “country” or a “nation” while covering a special event on October 10 to be organised by the Taipei Economy and Cultural Centre (TECC) in India.

Also read: India slips in press freedom rankings; Javadekar slams report

“There is a free media in India, that reports on issues that they see fit,” said Anurag Srivastava of the Ministry of External Affairs in response to a question during the weekly online media interaction.

The MEA response came a day after the note to the Indian media urged them to follow the “One China principle” with regard to the upcoming celebration of the “109th” anniversary of the “national” day of Taiwan.

The Chinese Embassy reminded the Indian media that Beijing does not recognise Taiwan as an independent country or a nation and the Indian media should follow that while reporting on the Taiwanese event.

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“We hope Indian media can stick to Indian government’s position on Taiwan question and do not violate the One-China principle,” the Chinese statement had said.

India has officially followed the “One-China principle” and there has been no change in that stance. . The TECC does not have a diplomatic status here as India does not recognise Taiwan as a separate entity.

The Chinese statement drew widespread response on social media. Comments poured in from Taiwan, including from persons in Taipei. A social media post from Taiwan's “foreign ministry” hit out at the Chinese Embassy and accused Beijing of attempting to impose restrictions on Indian media.

Also read: Quad’s significance rises as Ministers meet

However, the Embassy spokesperson reiterated Beijing's position on Thursday and said, “There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is inalienable part of China's territory. One-China policy is international universal consensus and long-standing position of Indian government, which China appreciates. It is wishful thinking to seek any “Taiwan independence”.”.

The exchanges took place hours after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in the Quad ministerial meeting with counterparts from Australia, Japan and the United States in Tokyo where all sides reiterated common commitment to uphold a free and inclusive Asia-Pacific region of which the Taiwan Strait forms an important part.

The issues related to the Asia-Pacific region are expected to feature in the 2+2 dialogue between Dr. Jaishankar. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and their U.S. counterparts Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper. The MEA on Thursday confirmed that the meeting will be held this year but Mr. Srivastava did not give a specific date for the important event when both countries are expected to seal an agreement for geo-spatial cooperation.

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