Taipei [Taiwan], March 30 (ANI): Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr has chided China's carrot and sticks approach which Beijing uses to undermine Taiwan's diplomatic alliances, saying the technique is 'counter-productive'.
On Sunday, Palauan President Whipps Jr. arrived in Taiwan to kick off a new travel bubble between Taiwan and Palau, with the first flight slated for April 1.
Joining Whipps' delegation is Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland, the first U.S. ambassador to visit Taiwan in an official capacity since former President Jimmy Carter cut ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing in 1979, Taiwan News reported.
Palau, one of the 15 nations with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations, is an archipelago of over 500 islands in the western Pacific Ocean and is home to just over 18,000 people.
"The relationship developed with a carrot and stick approach is counter-productive," Whipps said at a press conference Monday in response to a question on Beijing's use of the strategy to lure Palau and if Palauan nationals could be tempted to desert Taiwan.
Whipps admitted that carrots can sway people's opinions and revealed that Beijing had told him that the "sky is the limit" on the benefits Beijing could offer should Palau sever formal ties with Taiwan.
"But like I said, if you give me carrots, don't tell me that I cannot see other persons, because we all believe in peace and prosperity for everybody," he stressed, adding that there are protocols to be followed in international engagement.
Asked by reporters the significance of Hennessey-Niland being part of his delegation, Whipps said it showed the close partnership between Palau and the U.S. in many areas, such as law enforcement, anti-illegal fishing and national security.
"As a small nation, we can easily be infiltrated. We depend on our partners to protect us and give us security," Whipps said, without naming any countries.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.
China has threatened that "Taiwan's independence" means war.
Wu Qian, spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defence, on January 28 "warned" the people wanting "Taiwan independence" and had said that "those who play with fire will set themselves on fire, and seeking 'Taiwan independence' means nothing but war".
According to an article by The Global Times, a Chinese state media, Taiwan's "mainland affairs council" has warned that any of the mainland's words and deeds that deliberately provoke Taiwan's bottom line may cause far-reaching effects that the mainland cannot bear. (ANI)