Vice President Annette Lu (
"My visit is a breakthrough in Taiwan's diplomatic history, which has been criticized as a sick `money diplomacy,' because I neither carried or promised to give any money or resources to those countries I visited," Lu said during a press conference after returning from Europe yesterday morning.
During her third trip abroad in as many months, the vice president visited the Vatican, Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, and Hungary, where she attended a congress of the Liberal International, a federation of liberal political parties from 67 countries.
Lu said that her comparison of the "soft power" of Taiwan with China's "hard power," such as military threats and political suppression, had many officials consider improving ties with Taiwan.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) echoed that Lu's visit has improved Taiwan's diplomatic visibility and that the achievements may direct future policy of his ministry.
"The vice president's experience proves that Taiwan can develop foreign relationships without spending money," Chien said during the press conference. "We will follow this direction."
He also stressed that Taiwan should expand it foreign ties by stressing its actual strengths, such as freedom, democracy, human rights, love and high-technology.
On the issue of the raid on Next magazine, Lu said that although she advocates freedom of speech, it should not be extended without limits.
"I have spent half of my life fighting for the freedom of speech, which I will continue to do," Lu said. "However, I also appeal for people to understand that this freedom shouldn't sacrifice national security.
"I believe that there should be a balance between freedom of speech and the importance of national security and social responsibilities."