Chinese delegation disrupts international meeting, humiliates Australia’s foreign minister
A cascading tirade of abuse, privately labeled by Australian participants as "disgusting" and "extraordinary," disrupted an international meeting of governments in Perth, Australia. The specific issue at hand was the detailed language regarding the participation of a delegation from Taiwan, an issue with a long history of both contention and compromise. What is interesting is the degree of actual rudeness, particularly since the issues had been raised privately beforehand, according to the account that follows.
Kelsey Munro of the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Participants at an intergovernmental meeting hosted by Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop in Perth have described "disgusting" and "extraordinary" scenes as the Chinese government delegation shouted over the welcome to country ceremony and forced the suspension of proceedings. ...
Participants at the Kimberley Process intersessional meeting have described extraordinary scenes as the Chinese delegation noisily disrupted the official Indigenous welcome ceremony and forced the suspension of at least one other session on Monday.
Members from the delegation used the microphone at their table to speak over the chairman of the meeting, senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official Robert Owen-Jones, as he tried to introduce the foreign minister Julie Bishop and the Indigenous welcome ceremony, attendees said.
The Chinese delegation said they had a point of order and demanded to know if everyone in the room had been "formally invited". ...
A spokeswoman for DFAT said Australia had invited the Rough Diamond Trading Entity of Chinese Taipei to attend the Kimberley Process in Perth as a guest of the Chair, "in line with earlier precedent". She said the invitation was consistent with Australia's One China policy.
The foreign minister of the host government, a strategically important country for China, was humiliated by being unable to speak for a while, thanks to actual rudeness. It is not clear from the account if she was onstage, waiting to speak, during the interruptions. If so, that was an insult to the face of a foreign minister.
She was eventually able to speak:
photo from offical source via Sydney Morning Herald
However, the venue chosen for the insult was a relatively low-level intergovernmental meeting, a "Kimberley Process intersessional meeting." The Kimberly Process is described as:
... an international meeting first convened in 2000 aimed at stopping the trade in conflict diamonds and to prevent the diamond trade from funding violence by insurgent movements.
Taiwan was granted observer status in 2007.
So a stinging message was sent, but in a less prominent venue. Literally, far from the rest of humanity. Perth vies for the title of "loneliest city on the planet" with Auckland, New Zealand, boasting that it is 2,100 km from the nearest metropolis of over one million. Smack in the middle of nowhere.
China has pulled anti-Taiwan stunts many times. At the same time, there is a gigantic economic presence of Taiwan firms in China, and many direct flights to China from Taiwan. They are in bed.
So it is clear that a message is being sent. Unless you believe that an international delegation would take this initiative on its own.
Hat tip: Andrew Bolt, who asks: "Why didn't the government tell the Chinese, 'Welcome to our country – you accept the Taiwanese delegation or you leave'?"