Taiwan rebukes China’s statements following global concern over earthquake: ‘Shameless’

Taiwan rebuked China on Thursday, branding its actions as “shameless,” following the expression of gratitude from Beijing’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations for the global concern in connection with the powerful earthquake that struck the island on Wednesday. Taiwan’s foreign ministry “solemnly condemns China’s shameless use of the Taiwan earthquake to conduct cognitive operations internationally,” it said. “This shows China has no goodwill towards Taiwan,” the ministry added.

A trapped tourist of Taroko National Park walks to an ambulance after being rescued in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, Thursday.(AP)

Following the earthquake in eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Geng Shuang, referenced it during a discussion earlier on Wednesday.

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“China is concerned about the damage and has expressed condolences to Taiwan and offered aid, he said, according to a transcript of his remarks carried on the Chinese mission to the U.N.’s website… We thank the international community for its expressions of sympathy and concern,” he said.

China asserts sovereignty over Taiwan, considering it as part of its territory, and thus claims the right to represent it internationally. This stance infuriates Taipei, given that Beijing’s communist government has never governed the island and lacks authority over its leadership selection process.

Wednesday’s magnitude-7.4 earthquake resulted in the tragic loss of ten lives in Taiwan. The quake also left over 1,000 individuals injured. In the hardest-hit city of Hualien, numerous residents chose to spend the night outdoors instead of risking aftershocks in their still-shaking apartments. A significant engineering effort is also underway to repair damaged roads and support leaning buildings.

In a remarkable rescue effort captured in video footage released by the island’s central emergency operation centre on Thursday, a helicopter successfully evacuated six miners trapped in a gypsum quarry in Hualien county, near the quake’s epicentre.

Taiwan has experienced more than 300 powerful aftershocks. The government has cautioned the public to remain vigilant against the possibility of landslides or rockfalls if they choose to travel to rural areas for Qingming, a two-day public holiday that commenced on Thursday.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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