Liberal chair of Taiwan parliamentary group says Taiwan should be at the table with other nations
Five Liberal, Conservative and Bloc MPs visited Taiwan this week to discuss trade, business
The chair of Parliament's Canada-Taiwan Friendship Group said Taiwan should be granted membership in international organizations to discuss issues and threats that affect the whole planet.
Speaking in Taipei during the friendship group's visit to Taiwan this week, Liberal MP Judy Sgro said Taiwan should be give membership in the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization
"Why wouldn't they be part of WHO and ICAO and those other international organizations? [Their membership] should not be a threat to anyone," she said Friday.
"Taiwan should be at the table at these major discussions when we talk about health issues and security issues."
The MPs who took part in the visit to Taiwan included Liberal MP Angelo Lacono, Bloc Québécois MP Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay and Conservative MPs Chris Lewis and Richard Martel.
China considers Taiwan a breakaway province and views any expression of support by a foreign government as interference in its internal affairs.
Canada has a "one China policy" that does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign political entity, although Canada has a cultural and trading relationship with the country.
China's embassy in Ottawa was quick to denounce the visit by Canada's parliamentarians.
Beijing pushes back
"Despite China's stern position, Judy Sgro and [four] other Canadian Parliament members persist in visiting the Taiwan region of China, which blatantly violates the one-China principle, grossly interferes in China's internal affairs and sends a seriously wrong signal to the Taiwan independence separatist forces," the statement said.
China said in the statement that the "one China policy" is an international norm and the foundation for China's relations with countries like Canada.
"China will continue to take resolute and strong measures to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and oppose the interference by external forces in China's internal affairs," the statement said.
Sgro and the other MPs in the group said that despite China's condemnation, the trip was a success because it revealed several business opportunities for both Canadian and Taiwanese companies.
"We're here to learn. We have. We'll take those voices and those messages back to Canada and look where there's opportunities to do those connections and promote businesses," Sgro said.
"The fact that not everyone is happy that we're here, well, that's unfortunate. But we're here and we've had a wonderful week and we look forward to taking the messages back."
More chips needed for auto industry: Lewis
Lewis, who represents the Ontario riding of Essex, said the automotive industry in Ontario is struggling with a shortage of some electronic goods produced in Taiwan. While visiting the country, he said, he spoke to manufacturers directly to ask for increased supplies.
"We've got parking lots full of cars, finished product cars, that sit in the parking lot, can't be sold, because we don't have semiconductors," he said.
Lewis said he and other MPs met with senior executives at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd., the world's largest contract chipmaker, and asked them to "put Canada at the top of the list."
Lewis said MPs were assured that Taiwan is working "very diligently" to build more chips.
During the visit, Sgro was presented with the Special Medal of Diplomacy by Taiwan's Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu in a ceremony in Taipei.
"I appreciate being recognized for all the work that we've done together and I look forward to continuing our friendship for many years to some," she said in a social media post.
Taiwan's ministry for foreign affairs held a dinner for the group and said in a social media post that it appreciates Canada's friendship.
"We're thankful for the support of the like-minded lawmakers and feel truly blessed to call them our friends," the ministry said in the post.