China Threatens To Support Separatists In North-East States If India Plays the Taiwan Card

China has been criticizing India for raking up the ‘Taiwan card’ controversy as a bargaining chip in the India-China border dispute. 

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After reports of India Taiwan trade pact made the rounds, China reacted sharply saying that India should remain committed to the One China principle and approach Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly.

“There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. One China Principle is a universal consensus of the international community, India included,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. 

Although the rumours were cleared, by a report in Economic Times (ET), that cited reliable sources that said that New Delhi isn’t considering any proposal for a trade deal with Taiwan. 

After China’s stern warning for the Indian media reminding to adhere to the Indian government’s stance that has accepted the ‘One China Policy’ and refer to Taiwan as part of the Republic Of China (ROC), hundreds of posters wishing Taiwan a happy national day were seen outside Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. 

Although the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejoiced at this support, Beijing has pushed back, saying that New Delhi such provocations could cause an “irreversible” impact on China-India ties.

After this, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had also launched another strong protest against India Today for conducting an interview with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Joseph Wu.

The embassy in its statement said that it seriously violated the One-China principle and sent a completely wrong message to the Indian people.

“The Chinese Embassy in India lodges strong representation and firm opposition against India Today providing a platform for Taiwan DPP authority separatist activities disregarding the Indian government’s long-standing position,” it added.

A Chinese expert writing for Chinese state-run Global Times (GT), warned that Beijing could retaliate India’s support for ‘secessionist forces’ in Taiwan by fuelling insurgency in the northeastern states.

Long Xingchun, a senior research fellow at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and president of the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs, said:

“Taiwan secessionist forces and Indian separatists are in the same category. If India plays the Taiwan card, it should be aware that China can also play the Indian separatist card.”

“These armed separatist factions in Northeast India have now been weak under the strong crackdown by the Indian military, but they have not been completely wiped out,” wrote Xingchun.

“Because of a lack of external support, they find it difficult to develop and grow. But if there is support, it would empower them to launch insurgencies.”

He further revealed that these separatist forces have requested China’s support, [but] China did not respond to them given diplomatic principles and the friendship between China and India. 

He warned that if India supports secessionist forces in China and disregards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, it should be aware of the consequences.

Several media reports claim the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), a prominent militant group operating in Assam, is supported by Beijing. Its leader Paresh Barua lives in Ruili in Yunnan Province across the Myanmar border with China. 

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Xingchun in the GT article stated that India is preparing for a “two and a half front war” referring to Pakistan, China, and internal insurgencies. The expert warned that if India takes the move to support “Taiwan independence,” China has every reason to support separatist forces in Northeast Indian states such as Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam and Nagaland. “China could even support the resurrection of Sikkim.”

GT’s Editor-in -Chief, Hu Xijin, also echoed a similar sentiment saying Bejing can retaliate by supporting separatist forces in northeast India and restoration of Sikkim.

There’s no official word on this from the Chinese governments but analysts believe that an opinion piece wouldn’t be published in the Global Times, which is under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) if it is in contradiction with its stand on the issue.