Antigua and Barbuda wants peace in the Taiwan Straits

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Antigua and Barbuda has become the latest Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country urging “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Straits as China continues its efforts to bring Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province, under its fold.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica and St Lucia have all commented on the decision by Beijing to conduct military drills in the Taiwan Straits following the decision by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi visit to Taiwan earlier this month.

China’s Foreign Ministry said that it was introducing new countermeasures against Washington including the suspension of climate talks; a direct reaction to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. Some of these measures also cancellation of future phone calls and meetings between Chinese and US defence leaders.

China also suspended anti-drug cooperation with the US, legal assistance on criminal matters cooperation on the repatriation of illegal immigrants, and the combat of transnational crimes

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said these provocations can only lead to a downturn in the global economy and can even trigger military action.

“As an independent nation that is a friend of all, we want to emphasize the need for the US and China to work together in the interest of all humanity. They are the two largest economies in the world and there is no need for unnecessary provocations.

“There are so many areas of instability globally. We want global peace and solidarity among nations, not for nations to think they have the right to provoke because they have superpowers. This can lead to inadvertent military actions and that is the last thing that we need,” Browne said.

He said he wanted to make it clear that St John’s is seeking to take sides, adding “the US is also important to the government and people of Antigua and Barbuda.

“Most of our tourism and foreign exchange we earn from the US and most of what we consume we are from the US. Our role is not to condemn the US or China but to call for peace and for the US to bring an end to these provocations,” Browne added.

“We do agree that people have a right to travel wherever they wish but if certain actions will provoke and worsen the Chinese-Taiwan relationship, then I don’t know now is the time to be encouraging that type of provocation,” he said.

Browne said another conflict, along with the way in Ukraine would mean an erosion of living standards of small island states.