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European politicians should be wary of Rasmussen’s visit to Taiwan island and avoid becoming strategic pawns

《环球时报·英文版》 2023-01-03

Grasping to a personal political fantasy, former prime minister of Denmark and ex-NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrived on the island of Taiwan on Tuesday for a three-day visit, which experts believed to be the latest attempt by a former politicians to access personal benefit by pandering to political correctness.

During his scheduled stay from Tuesday to Thursday, Rasmussen, founder of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation will meet with Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen, Lai Ching-te, Joseph Wu, lawmakers and think tank scholars.

The foundation was sanctioned by the Chinese government in March, 2021.

In a separate press release issued by the foundation, it said the visit was the first official visit by a former NATO secretary-general. "The visit will focus on support from the democratic world for Taiwan and closer EU-Taiwan relations," it said.

However, observers contend that Rasmussen's intention is to drive European countries to gain favor with the island of Taiwan, enhance the status and influence of the island in international affairs to achieve the purpose of cooperating with the US.

As a former NATO Secretary General, Rasmussen's visit to Taiwan island is a case of European politicians colluding with the US to play the Taiwan card and create more severe obstacles and challenges for China's internal and external development environment, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Such an approach, in fact, coincides with the US' strategy of encouraging its allies to make a big fuss over the Taiwan question, so that its allies are in the forefront of the overall planning and actions designed by the US for strategic competition and confrontation with China, turning European politicians into pawns, Li noted.

"The changes in Taiwan in the intervening 30 years have been immense," Rasmussen was quoted as saying in the statement. "Taiwan's democratic transformation would be impressive under any circumstances. The fact that it has happened while facing daily threats and provocations from a nuclear armed neighbor makes it remarkable."

He also said in the statement that the trip was a chance to "show his support for Taiwan and its ability to choose its own future freely, peacefully, and independently."

Chinese experts said that "democracy" is an example of language that has a certain function in media outlets and in mobilizing people at home. But the real intention of these politicians is not promoting democracy at all, but how to play the Taiwan card to secure the maximum level of approval from the US and create obstacles to China's internal and external development.

In 2021, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation held the "Copenhagen Democracy Summit 2021" in Denmark, which invited Tsai, Hong Kong separatist Nathan Law, who is also a fugitive suspect, and other "democratic activists" worldwide.

Observers said that the over the top event was like a platform for "the alliance of losers" to beg for more funding from their Western sponsors.

At the conference, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod denounced sanctions imposed by China against the EU in 2021 as "deplorable."

Responding to such accusations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a press briefing that China had only done the right thing, calling it a necessary and justifiable response to the European Union's unilateral sanctions, which were based on lies that severely undermined China's sovereignty and interests.

Democracy should not become a political tool to suppress other countries, and European politicians should understand its real definition and benefit for the masses, Hua said.

In the context of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, so-called democracy has become an excuse to intervene in other countries' affairs,Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, told the Global Times.

In Europe, playing the Taiwan card has become a form of political correctness, and some politicians want to use it as an opportunity to gain political influence without taking any political responsibility, Xin pointed out.

Taiwan authorities want to hype up the visit to look for foreign support to seek independence, but they have not realized that they are just a pawn, experts pointed out.

It is ironic that European politicians should go to other parts of the world to practice so-called democracy when democracy itself needs saving, Li said.

Furthermore, experts warned that as the Taiwan question is a core issue of China's foreign policy, Rasmussen, a relatively influential political figure in Denmark, trying to encourage more people in Denmark and even in Europe to visit the Taiwan island, will inevitably damage the relations between Denmark and China and that peace-loving forces should be alarmed by such actions.