In a major embarrassment for Chinese officials, they were banned from attending the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth II, while a delegation of Taiwan received a “special invitation” to sign the book of condolence for the Queen. According to the statement released by the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, their de facto ambassador in London, Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh, received a special invitation and added he was given the same treatment as other dignitaries. Though the United Kingdom has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it maintains unofficial relations with the island nation. Notably, not only the UK but maximum countries do not maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei due to objections raised by Beijing.
“The invitation is based on the importance attached to Taiwan-Britain relations and the precious friendship between the two peoples. Hsieh enjoyed the same treatment as the heads of state, representatives and members of the royal family of other countries who have gone to Britain to mourn,” according to the statement. On the other hand, House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle rejected a request for Chinese officials to be allowed access to Westminster citing sanctions against five MPs and two peers. One of the officials concerned with the development told BBC that the invitation was rescinded because of human rights abuses in the treatment of the Uyghur ethnic group in China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. The tension rose further after China sent fighter jets and vessels following the visit of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month.
North Korea is also invited to Queen’s funeral
The Queen, who was a symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her own family, died after 70 years on the throne on September 8. She was 96. Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace released a statement and said the State Funeral of the monarch will take place at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19, at 11 AM local time. As the Royal Family announced the tragic news, the Taiwan government reacted swiftly and poured its condolences. Moreover, Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu visited Britain’s de facto embassy in the nation’s capital and signed its public condolence book. Surprisingly, Britain has invited North Korea to the Queen’s funeral. Earlier it was reported that China was not invited to the funeral but later on Saturday, Beijing announced that its Vice President Wang Qishan would attend the ceremony as the special representative of President Xi Jinping.