Taiwan furious after China hijacks global sympathy for devastating earthquake

Taiwanese officials are furious after the People’s Republic of China attempted to claim worldwide sympathies following a devastating earthquake.

China, which makes disputed claims of ownership over Taiwan, thanked the global community for expressions of grief after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the island.

“We thank the international community for its expressions of sympathy and concern,” Chinese Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Geng Shuang said.

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Firefighters seen at collapsed building

Firefighters work at the site of a collapsed building in Hualien, Taiwan. (Taiwan National Fire Agency/Handout)

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the statement as a “shameless use of the Taiwan earthquake” to push its international “cognitive operations,” according to Reuters.

The statement by China — which implied sovereignty and ownership of the island — follows weeks of escalating tension in East Asia.

Dozens of Chinese warplanes and multiple naval ships were reported around Taiwan this week, the largest coordinated display since last year. At least 30 planes and nine ships were detected in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) by the country’s Ministry of National Defense (MND).

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Firefighters evacuate a body from a quarry in Taiwan

In this photo released by the Hualien Fire Department, firefighters and quarry workers evacuate a body from the Ho Ren Quarry a day after a powerful earthquake struck in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan. (Hualien Fire Department via AP)

The incursion into Taiwanese territory by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) planes and sea vessels followed a Tuesday phone call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden. It was the first time the two have spoken since July 2022.

“China’s ongoing military expansion and gray-zone provocations have been posing formidable challenges to the region. MOFA welcomes the international community’s continued focus on peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday. “As a responsible member of the global village, Taiwan will do its utmost to enhance its self-defense capabilities.”

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Chinese military

New recruits of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) attend a send-off ceremony at a railway station in Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, China. (China Daily via REUTERS )

The statement added, “It will also steadily deepen its comprehensive partnership and strengthen close cooperation with the United States. Taiwan will continue to work with like-minded partners to safeguard the rules-based international order and ensure peace, stability, and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait and in the Indo-Pacific region.”

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