0305: Freedom Pineapples, U.S.-Taiwan Diplomatic Ties

Chinese Ban on Taiwan’s “Freedom Pineapples” Prompts Netizen and International Supports for Taiwan

Social media users expressed support for Taiwan after Taiwan’s officials urged like-minded friends worldwide to stand with Taiwan in the face of China’s sudden ban on Taiwanese pineapples. A number of Taiwanese politicians also called on people to support Taiwanese pineapple farmers, who are preparing for harvest season.

“After Australian wine, unfair Chinese trade practices are now targeting #Taiwanese pineapples. But that won’t stop us. Whether in a smoothie, a cake, or freshly cut on a plate, our pineapples always hit the spot. Support our farmers & enjoy delicious Taiwanese fruit!” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.

“Here we go again! Our pineapples are now banned by #China to punish farmers in the south [of Taiwan]. Remember #Australia’s #FreedomWine? I urge like-minded friends around the globe to stand with #Taiwan & rally behind the #FreedomPineapple,” Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in a tweet.

On February 26, China abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan from March 1, saying that it had found bugs in several batches of fresh pineapples shipped from Taiwan between March and May last year. However, there have been no reports of bugs since last October. According to Taiwan’s government, 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. [1]

Infuriated Taiwanese called the ban a “political” and “unfriendly” move to further pressure Taiwan. China is a volatile, high-risk market, as the Chinese government tries to foster dependence on its market, and then uses this reliance to obtain seeds and other technology with the goal of eventually taking over a market segment, especially in produce, Chiao Chun, an expert on Taiwan-China agricultural interaction, said. [2]

The de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan on March 2 praised the quality Taiwan’s pineapples. The American Institute in Taiwan, under the hashtags #realfriendsrealprogress and #pineapplesolidarity, posted Facebook pictures of pineapples on their Taipei premises, including of its director Brent Christensen with three on his desk. “Have you bought your pineapples? We have!” it wrote. [3]

A Bill Calls for the U.S. to Resume Diplomatic Ties and Make Trade Deal with Taiwan

On February 26, Reps. Tom Tiffany (WI-07) and Scott Perry (PA-10) introduced a resolution (H. Con. Res. 21) calling for the U.S. to resume normal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, negotiate a U.S.-Taiwan bilateral free trade agreement, and support Taiwan’s membership in international organizations.

In a press release posted on March 1, Rep. Tiffany pointed out that the U.S. and Taiwan maintained normal diplomatic relations until 1979, when then-President Jimmy Carter abruptly cut off diplomatic relations with Taiwan without legislative approval and instead opted to recognize Communist China.

For his part, Rep. Perry pointed out that the U.S. is an independent country that proudly collaborates with Taiwan across a wide spectrum of issues. He asserted that it is long past time for the U.S. to exercise its sovereign right to state the reality that Taiwan has been a sovereign and independent country for over 70 years.

The resolution urges the U.S. President to abandon the antiquated “One China Policy” that has been weaponized by Communist China “to block Taiwan’s membership and full participation in international organizations and events ranging from the United Nations and the World Health Organization to the Olympic Games.”

The bill states that “the President should recognize the legitimacy of the democratically elected national government in Taipei, normalize diplomatic relations between our two nations, appoint a United States ambassador to Taiwan, and receive a Taiwanese ambassador to the United States.”

It also calls for the U.S. Trade Representative to initiate formal negotiations with Taiwan on the establishment of a U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement.

Sources: Taiwan News, Taipei Times