Taiwan has offered government assistance to Canada in fighting PRC interference
Foreign Affairs Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu confirms engagement with Canadian government
Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu confirmed on Wednesday that his government has engaged with Canada’s government on Chinese interference threats, offering Taiwan’s hard-earned expertise from withstanding decades of Chinese subversion campaigns.
In addition to discussing Taiwan’s ongoing assistance to Canada and other nations that face similar Chinese interference operations, Wu’s press conference with international journalists covered issues ranging from China’s infiltration of organizations including the United Nations and World Health Organization, how industrialists in nations such as Germany could be pressuring their governments to maintain counter-productive trade relations with Beijing, and the risks of China and Russia collaborating in attacks on other nations.
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Parts of the transcript are published here, edited lightly for length and clarity.
We have heard from your military experts this week that China's aggression towards Taiwan includes the threat of military force. And the second perhaps less understood threat is United Front warfare and infiltration tactics.
It has emerged in Canada for most of the past year, high level reports have indicated that United Front units have been very active in Canada's democracy, allegedly funding election interference networks.
And so Canada's current federal government has faced some public will for actions such as a public inquiry, perhaps to implement a foreign agent registry, which is a suggestion from some politicians.
But so far no concrete legislative reforms have taken place.
I wonder would Taiwan, as such an experienced counter-actor to United Front warfare, be willing to work with Canada's government providing advice and recommendations?
And could you also tell me what kind of actions Canada could take to implement the proper defences?
Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu
I am the Minister of Foreign Affairs and whatever I say has impacts. So I have to be careful in giving the Canadian government any advice, anything at all.
Canada is a very good friend of Taiwan, there's no doubt about it.
And the cooperation in between Taiwan and Canada have been increasing tremendously in the last few years. And we also see government is also taking a much more proactive posture on what China present as a malign force influencing the Canadian politics.
So all these are very positive.
Rather than focusing on Canada, I should say that the Chinese influence, especially the United Front tactics or using its people, its immigration, diaspora community in Canada or in other countries — this is a very serious matter for us to deal with.
And of course in the case of Taiwan, the Chinese infiltration into our society or using the disinformation campaign and cognitive warfare through some of the media that are actually more friendly to China than to Taiwan, it is also something that we have been guarding very carefully about.
Even though we don't want to dampen any of the freedom of speech here in Taiwan, we have to guard very carefully about, it's already a very good study about how China is using this diaspora community, making the diaspora community watching over each other and making sure that diaspora community is loyal to China rather than the countries they live in.
And it includes Canada, of course, Australia, New Zealand and et cetera.
And we have an organization that is called Doublethink Lab that is very substantial in studying about China's disinformation campaign or influence operations throughout the rest of the world.
And it came out that New Zealand is suffering tremendously from this, even though the Chinese immigrants are going to New Zealand, they're supposed to enjoy freedom and openness, the beauty of New Zealand.
But the Chinese government are keeping track of this diaspora in New Zealand and going through the Chinese media online, or some of the hard copy news media that the Chinese government helped fund it to circulate among the diaspora communities.
And the study I mentioned found that the Chinese diaspora in New Zealand or even in Malaysia, they believe that the war in Ukraine was started by the United States.
They believe that United States was not interested in helping Ukraine, but to get Ukraine to go against Russia to weaken Russia.
And the study also shows that their attitude toward Taiwan is that Taiwan is provoking China, and or the United States is using Taiwan to provoke China so that the United States will fight the war to end China.
So things like that.
And it's very contrary to our understanding of the international community.
So the Chinese disinformation campaign, they may focus on the diaspora community and from [using] the diaspora community, they would affect the politicians that they will be able to elect, to change the national discussions on major issues.
So this is what we found.
And since Taiwan has been facing a campaign of infiltration, things like this for quite some time, and the way we deal with it is on the government side, we have to respond to any wrong accusation or wrong information in a very speedy way.
And other than that, we also have NGOs here that are very active.
And they're so prominent that the international community decided to invite them for exchanges on how we deal with this disinformation campaign initiated either by Russia or by China. So this is the way we do it.
And we have told the Canadian friends that if they think that this information campaign or United Front or that kind of thing is getting too serious in Canada, we would like to engage with the Canadian government officials so that we can share our experiences with our Canadian friends, and not limited to Canada.
There are quite a few European friends who think that the disinformation campaign has been going too far, for instance, our Slovakian friends are coming to Taiwan and told us that this information campaign has gone too serious.
And the average people in Slovakia don't know how to tell what is right and what is wrong.
The substantial part of the peoples believe that it's the United States who initiate a war against Ukraine. Of course it's wrong. So they ask us for help. So we are sending those [Taiwanese] NGO experts to Slovakia to discuss with them how we deal with this matter.
And when we are stronger, we want to work together with the rest of the democracies to make sure that they can survive the Chinese or Russian disinformation as well.
German Reporter Question
Germany just released its first ever China strategy a couple of weeks ago. So I wonder how you assessed the strategy and generally the European Union’s approach to China and Taiwan?