(Shutterstock, with additions by United With Israel) (Shutterstock, with additions by United With Israel)

Jerusalem Post rejects embassy’s demand to remove interview with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister from website.

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

The Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv has warned that China’s relations with Israel will be downgraded if the Jerusalem Post does not remove from its website an interview with Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, the paper reported on Monday.

In the interview, published on the website on Monday, Wu called for increased Israeli-Taiwanese cooperation, warned of a possible Chinese invasion, and advised Israelis to be very wary of relying on Beijing.

Later that day, Yaakov Katz, the Post‘s editor in chief tweeted, “Didn’t take long. Got call from Chinese embassy. Apparently I’m supposed to take down the story or they will sever ties with the @Jerusalem_Post and downgrade relations with the State of Israel. Needless to say, story ain’t going anywhere.”

The interview was published in the Post‘s print edition on Tuesday.

Wu discussed Taiwan’s relations with Israel, his concerns about China’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy, and how the island country of 23 million is preparing for a possible invasion.

“China is an authoritarian country and they do business in a very different philosophy,” Wu said. “Sometimes they use trade as a weapon, and we have seen them practicing their weaponized trade relations with many other countries.”

He also warned Israelis to be very careful in making any political concessions to Beijing, advising not to “worry about China getting upset at you. When they get upset at you, that means you are doing something right.”

He also expressed concern that China would draw the conclusions from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I’m not sure whether the Chinese leaders are rational in making their own decisions. What we are seeing recently is that they seem to be gearing up a military threat against Taiwan. They seem to be trying to project their forces far beyond Taiwan,” Wu said.

“And, therefore, it seems that China has been drawing the wrong lesson, and it seems to be trying to examine what went wrong in the Russian warfare against Ukraine to improve themselves. And if they do that, I think their determination to go after Taiwan is going to be stronger.”

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented on the matter.

Israeli-Taiwanese ties are complicated by Jerusalem’s desire to maintain good relations with China. Jerusalem and Taipei do not have official diplomatic relations. Israeli interests are represented by the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

Despite the lack of official ties, the Singapore-based CNA News reports that Israel and Taiwan have signed more than 20 agreements in various areas of bilateral trade, with the volume of trade “exceeding US$2.3 billion, making Taiwan Israel’s fourth largest export destination in Asia” in 2022.

Earlier in May, Kan News reported of an Israeli diplomatic cable instructing embassy staffers around the world not to accept invitations from their Taiwanese counterparts to official events. According to Kan, the cable was “an apparent attempt to avoid a diplomatic flare-up with China.”

But those figures are dwarfed by Israel’s trade with China.

Israel’s National Bureau of Statistics revealed in January that China overtook the U.S. as the Jewish state’s largest source of imports.

Chinese businesses have taken on a number of major Israeli infrastructure contracts, such as operating the Port of Haifa. Chinese involvement in these projects have raised the concerns of the Trump and Biden administrations.

In January, Israeli officials pledged to notify Washington of significant deals with Beijing.