Defense Minister rejects Ottawa’s claim to withdraw funds from Taiwan’s presidential award conference

Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan was denied If the organizers decide to award the President of Taiwan the John McCain Award, the federal government claims to have threatened to withdraw funding for the major defense conferences held annually in Halifax.

“That’s actually absolutely wrong,” Sajan told the Parliamentary Commission on Canada-China relations on April 12.

“The Halifax Security Forum is an independent organization and makes its own choices when it comes to awards.”

The Washington-based Halifax Security Forum hosts the hottest defense conferences in Halifax each year. The event will be attended by senior politicians and military personnel discussing global security issues.

Citing multiple sources, Politico In a report on April 11, the forum decided to award John McCain’s leadership award in public services at the end of last year, saying that Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen “strongly confronted China’s relentless pressure.” Stated. However, Canadian officials warned that Ottawa would cut funding for the forum if the award was given to Tsai, Politico reported.

forum received $ 3.1 million from the Department of Defense for the 2019-2020 event.

Opposition criticized the Liberal government for the allegations reported by Politico.

“The government’s attempt to silence those who criticize China is shameful and counterproductive because it directly affects China’s hands,” conservative diplomatic critic Michael Chung said in April. I mentioned during the question period at the Commons House on the 12th.

He asked Foreign Minister Marc Garneau if the federal government would reverse that position.

Garnot said the government was always there to protect human rights, without answering directly.

“We were there in the case of China, but most recently we have imposed sanctions on identified individuals regarding the treatment of Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region,” Garnot said.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims that Taiwan is a separate state that should be under its control. The CCP has warned other countries not to recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state and has increased military activity near the island in recent months. A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense reiterated in January that Taiwan was part of China, warning that “independence means war.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on April 11 that the CCP’s attack on Taiwan was a “serious mistake” and that there were “real concerns” about the Communist Party’s threat to the island.

Tsai, who was reelected in the January 2020 landslide election, claims that Taiwan is independent and that the government “will not succumb to intimidation or intimidation” from China.

Epoch Times Photo
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan will give a speech at the celebration of the founding of the country on October 10, 2020 in front of Cheong Wa Dae in Taipei, Taiwan. (Chiang Ying-ying / AP Photo)

The forum has not announced the winners of the awards so far.

“We look forward to making presentations and holding presentation events at the right time in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Forum Vice President Robin Shepherd told Politico in a statement.

Shepherd said Tsai “will certainly be ideal for this award.”

“Taiwan’s President Tsai is a respected international leader, Taiwan’s first female president, and a strong global supporter of democracy.”

In his speech to the Canadian and Chinese Commissions, Sajan also opposed China’s recent military expansion into the South China Sea.

“Canada opposes building reclamation projects and outposts in conflict areas for military purposes,” Sajan said, citing China’s construction of military facilities on several islands and atolls. ..

“And we will continue to support our allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the face of unilateral actions that undermine peace and stability.”

A Canadian warship that sailed the South China Sea last month during a trip from Brunei to Vietnam passed near the conflicting Spratly Islands claimed by both China and the Philippines, casting a shadow over at least part of the voyage. The Chinese army has set up facilities and equipment within its territory.

Uses CathyHe and The Canadian Press files.