Diplomatic relations with Taiwan have always proved to be a delicate balancing game. Mainland China maintains that Taiwan is de facto part of their territory. Countries that make a diplomatic move, small or big, that suggests Taiwanese independence, risk upsetting China.
Such was the case with the Netherlands this week. The diplomatic mission to Taiwan changed the name of their office from “Netherlands Trade and Investment” to “Netherlands Office Taipei”, causing fury among Chinese officials, reports NOS.
Call for boycott of Dutch products
On Chinese social media as well as on media channels of the Chinese state, there’s been calls for boycotting Dutch products. Calls have also been made to stop the exports of medical equipment from China to the Netherlands.
The President of Taiwan welcomes the name changing, calling it a symbol of more open cooperation in recent years.
Thank you @guywittich for years of dedication to strengthening #Taiwan–#Netherlands bilateral relations & cooperation. I hope you’ll take some of our world-famous Taiwan tea back home with you, because it goes so well with your delicious stroopwafel. Bedankt! pic.twitter.com/L5RJpAmL67
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) April 29, 2020
The name change has been defended by the Netherlands as being just a name simplification, done due to an expansion of the activities of the Dutch office in Taiwan.
The Chinese embassy in The Hague files complaint
As a result of the name change, the Chinese embassy in the Hague has recently filed a complaint over the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Taiwan is one of the top interests of China, and the Chinese Communist Party does not tolerate conversation or debate over the issue, as it sees Taiwan as an integral part of China.
The Global Times, a Chinese media outlet owned by the Communist Party, warned of repercussions, such as cancelling of medical equipment exports as well as ending some trade deals with the Netherlands.
However, threats of boycotts or ending medical trade has not yet been made by any official spokesperson from the Chinese government.
Should the Netherlands stand its ground with China? Let us know in the comments!
Feature Image: Heeheemalu/Wikimedia Commons