BEIJING: While President Xi Jinping was trying to reassert China's global influence at the G20 Summit in Indonesia, he got an earful from western heads over Taiwan and human rights violations. Xi has emerged more powerful after his re-election as Chinese President however continues to be questioned and criticised by world leaders, reported The Singapore Post.
Xi held face-to-face meetings with some world leaders during the G20 summit that was held in Indonesia's Bali. After three hours of talks with the American President Joe Biden, which Xi used to try to diffuse tensions, the US said it touched upon issues that impacted the security of its allies such as Taiwan and South Korea. "We were very blunt with one another about places where we disagreed," said Biden, the following statement by the US President warned against Beijing's "coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan." It said Chinese military action would destabilise the region and hurt global prosperity.
The US raking up Taiwan did not bring good news for Xi. The US has been batting for the independence of Taiwan, thus opposing its forceful annexation by China, reported The Singapore Post. The US questioned China publicly even after Xi told Biden categorically that the Taiwan issue was the "first red line" that was not to be crossed.
Biden also expressed concerns over human rights violations in Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong and about unfair Chinese business practices. Other major world powers too have shown similar attitudes toward China, reported The Singapore Post. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Xi that Canada would continue to express its disagreement with China over concerning issues during the G20 summit.
Xi was expressing his displeasure over the leaks of bilateral discussions when Trudeau interrupted him and said "In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have." Trudeau said Canada sought to work constructively with China but it would continue to "disagree" on some issues, reported The Singapore Post. The western block has been proactive in highlighting cases of human rights violations in China and Chinese military aggression in its neighbourhood.
China is the largest trading partner of many countries including New Zealand. The rising tension in the Taiwan Strait was yet one of the important issues that were raised by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern when she met Xi on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok recently, reported The Singapore Post. Ardern expressed concerns over the grim situation in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and Taiwan.
Moreover, the newly elected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak too risked his meeting with Xi in support of Taiwan's independence. According to reports, the bilateral meeting between these two leaders - the first such in fifty years- on the sidelines of the G20 summit was cancelled after the UK asserted that it would provide military assistance to Taiwan against the Chinese offensive, reported The Singapore Post.
"We stand ready to support Taiwan, as we do in standing up to Chinese aggression," Sunak said on the eve of the summit. Japan too has called out China for its expansionist attitude. Expressing concerns over Chinese aggression in Japanese territorial waters, especially near Senkaku island, Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, "I reiterated the importance of peace and security in the Taiwan Strait. I conveyed my grave concerns about the situation in the East China Sea."