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Xi poaching Taiwan allies to cement position in CPC: security sources

2019-09-21  English News
Taipei, Sept. 20 (CNA) Chinese President Xi Jinping is poaching Taiwan's diplomatic allies to divide its people before Taiwan's next presidential election and to solidify his position in the Communist Party of China (CPC) prior to a major party event, sources said Friday.

According to sources familiar with national security issues, Xi has targeted Taiwan's diplomatic partners, in particular those in the South Pacific, trying to lure them away with money diplomacy as part of his efforts to meddle in Taiwan's upcoming presidential election and solidify his standing ahead of the CPC's fourth plenary session of its 19th Central Committee to be held in Beijing in October.

Xi has come under strong pressure as China's Oct. 1 national day approaches at a time when the situation in Hong Kong needs to be stabilized and China's economy is facing great challenges amid an ongoing trade war with the United States, the sources said.

To ease the mounting pressure on the political front, the sources said, Xi has recently ordered a stepping up of attack on Taiwan, with his office drafting a "plan to interfere in Taiwan's elections," which is focused on luring away Taiwan's diplomatic partners, banning Chinese tourists from visiting Taiwan and increasing military intimidation.

Under the plan, China is seeking to poach several of Taiwan's allies in the South Pacific by Oct. 1 with an "unlimited budget," banning all Chinese tour group travel to Taiwan by the end of this year and initiating a series of military moves along the median line in the Taiwan Strait to further squeeze Taiwan, they said.

According to the sources, China is targeting Taiwan's South Pacific allies because they are small countries that can be easily manipulated.

A clear example is the Solomon Islands' decision on Monday to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing at a cost of US$500 million and much backroom horse-trading, they said.

Kiribati followed suit on Friday by announcing it was switching diplomatic allegiance to China.