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Taipei, Nov. 2 (CNA) A decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to remove the Taiwan flag from a thank-you tweet to countries that offered support in the wake of a massive earthquake last Friday was due to pressure from China, which was regrettable, Taiwan officials said Monday.

While Erdoğan did not name the countries and organizations that reached out to Turkey after the 7.0 magnitude quake, he posted pictures of their flags Saturday, but the tweet was later taken down and replaced with a new one that did not include the Taiwan flag.

"According to information obtained by our representative office in Turkey, it was due to China's meddling and pressure," Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told reporters in front of the Legislature before attending a legislative hearing.

He said Taiwan, as a country that upholds human rights, will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to others that need help, such as the Philippines and Vietnam after recent devastating typhoons.

​​"We condemn China's regrettable intervention and repression on a matter of humanitarian assistance that has no political implications," Wu said.

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the issue showed that the Chinese government was "narrow-minded," as it is normal for a country to express appreciation to others that offer support in times of crisis.

"What China did was try to restrict Taiwan's international space," Su said, on the sidelines of a ceremony to commend government agencies that offer open data.

In the face of such repression, the Taiwanese people should realize that Taiwan can only hold its place in the international community by standing on its own feet, he said.

Turkey has diplomatic ties with China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory and opposes any activities or symbols that could be seen as elevating Taiwan's status to that of a sovereign nation.

On Oct. 30, Turkey and the Greek island of Samos were hit by a magnitude 7.0 quake that killed at least 64 people.

(By Emerson Lim, Matt Yu and Su Ssu-yun)

​Source : Focus Taiwan

A screenshot of the Twitter post that has since been taken down (source: twitter.com/RTErdogan)

China's pressure on Turkey over flag issue regrettable: Taiwan officials

Focus Taiwan - 11/02/2020