Taiwan, an island that China’s ruling Communist Party has long sought to bring into its fold under the same “one country, two systems” arrangement it has for Hong Kong, has thrown its support behind Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Taiwanese leaders also have urged Beijing to live up to its pledges of autonomy in the former British colony or risk further alienating the Taiwanese public.
"If Hong Kong can soon achieve universal suffrage, it would be a win-win for Hong Kong and the mainland, and it can greatly help narrow the mental gap between residents on both sides of (the Taiwan Strait) and allow for the relations to develop positively," Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said in a statement.
"Otherwise, it may deepen the antipathy of Taiwan’s public and hurt the future of relations between the two sides," Ma said in the statement, dated Tuesday.
In August, Beijing rejected a proposal for open nominations of candidates for Hong Kong’s first-ever leadership election, promised for 2017. Instead, all candidates must continue to be picked by a panel that is mostly aligned with Beijing.