Taiwan official quits HK over 'political obstacles' - RTHK
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Taiwan official quits HK over 'political obstacles'

2020-07-17 HKT 13:43
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  • Media reports say a Taiwanese official was denied visa to Hong Kong after he refused to sign a pro-Beijing statement. Image: Shutterstock
    Media reports say a Taiwanese official was denied visa to Hong Kong after he refused to sign a pro-Beijing statement. Image: Shutterstock
Vicky Wong reports
Taiwan on Friday said its top representative to Hong Kong has returned home due to "unnecessary political obstacles", with local media reporting he refused to sign a pro-Beijing statement.

Kao Ming-tsun, acting director of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, "was forced to return to Taiwan because the Hong Kong side violated the consensus and set up unnecessary political obstacles", said Chiu Chui-cheng, spokesman of the Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei.

Chiu declined to elaborate on what the obstacles were.

Taiwan's Up Media news said Kao refused to sign a statement supporting Beijing's view that Taiwan is part of "one China" when he was renewing his work visa.

A source in Taipei with knowledge of Kao's decision said he did refuse to sign the statement presented by the Hong Kong authorities.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen rejects the idea of "one China" and views the democratic, self-ruled island as a de facto independent nation.

Relations between Taiwan and Hong Kong have rapidly deteriorated and the office handling unofficial ties has already been devoid of a chief since mid-2018 with Hong Kong yet to issue a visa. Taipei officials routinely avoid travelling there.

Under the new national security law, Beijing says it can prosecute national security crimes committed overseas, including by foreigners.

That has sparked concerns Taiwanese nationals and other foreigners who are critical of Beijing could be arrested travelling to or transiting through Hong Kong.

On Thursday, Taiwan warned the mainland could use the new security law for "hostage diplomacy" and urged democratic countries to unite against Beijing's "autocratic" expansion. (AFP)