Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who will be leaving St Vincent and the Grenadines with a delegation today for an official state visit to the Republic of China-Taiwan has issued a call for the People’s Republic of China to desist from military exercises designed to threaten or intimidate the people of Taiwan.
Speaking during his Face-to-Face radio progamme this morning, Gonsalves said he intends to write to the Chinese government to desist from the ‘sabre rattling’ and to desist from conduct which by any reasonable reflection would be intimidatory and a threat to the people of Taiwan, and to peace and security across the Taiwan Strait and in east Asia and the world.
“Let us settle disputes peacefully… better to be talking and talking than warring and warring.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves said St Vincent and the Grenadines is a country that believes in the peaceful settlement of disputes as he noted there has been a dispute since 1949 between mainland China and Taiwan.
He said both the people of Taiwan and of mainland China are part of the Chinese civilisation, and believes a civilisation can have different political expressions.
“There are different, legitimate political expressions of the Chinese civilisation finding themselves in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.
Whatever the challenge, the contradictions, the difficulties, the problems between these two peoples in those two countries of the same civilisation, it is for them to sort out their problems peacefully.”
Gonsalves believes the response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is excessive and does nothing for world peace.
He said it only exacerbates the problem and worries about the spillover effect on the rest of the world given all the turmoil already in the global political system and the global economy, exacerbated already by war in Ukraine and now worsening tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
“They affect people not only directly within the Chinese civilisation, but affect countries as far as away as St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
Prime Minister Gonsalves during his State visit to Taiwan will meet with the president and other high-level officials.
Noting that this will be his eleventh visit to Taiwan and his tenth as prime minister, Gonsalves said he is not going to allow any tensions there to prevent him from visiting ‘a friend, an ally’ because of the action of the People’s Republic of China.
“We have important business to transact with Taiwan and I am hopeful they, mainland China, would respect what I am saying.”
The Vincentian delegation includes Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Angie Jackson, Minister of National Mobilisation Dr Orando Brewster and Latheisha Brewster, Taiwanese Ambassador Peter Sha-Li Lan, Lennox Bowman, Shevrell Macmillan of the API and the prime minister’s security detail Sgt Kendal Horne.