Minutes after unconfirmed reports of a surprise attack by China on Taiwan, NATO held a press conference to give their first reactions.
“We told you”, said the British delegate to their colleagues, calling on them to coordinate their actions as the United Kingdom announced it will provide material support to Taiwan. France, a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council with veto powers (as do the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and China), deplored the UNSC’s inaction previously seen in the cases of Syria and Ukraine and now with Taiwan. As the United States Seventh Fleet has entered the Taiwan Strait, France expressed their support to American efforts. The United States indeed stated that while they strived for NATO collaboration, they will proceed with a response to China’s aggression with or without their transatlantic partners.
The news had come in as NATO allies were still discussing a clause for immediate response in case of unilateral attack on Taiwan. As no agreement was met, Canada declared they still stood by the One China Policy and awaited further decisions to be made by partner states. For Lithuania and Türkiye, it is necessary to continue diplomatic efforts. While the bombing of Taiwan would be a red line for Lithuania, Türkiye stressed on the importance of preserving economic interests. For Greece, a crisis compromising their access to Chinese microchips is to be avoided. The British delegate then drew a parallel between the interdependency of world powers due to globalisation and the need for international collaboration to address the escalation.
The United Kingdom lamented the fact that NATO and its member states were being “pushed around by an autocratic state that imposes their values through aggression”. While for both the United Kingdom and the United States upholding Western liberal values is not enough anymore in addressing the crisis, it very much comes down to it. The American delegate emphasised on the right of the Taiwanese people to self-determination. Canada was asked to react on so-called ‘Taiwanese separatism’ taking into consideration the Québec sovereignist movement, and responded that they would respect any decision made within a democratic framework.
- Camille Jourdain, Expert on China for Reuters