President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that Taiwan would not give in to threats from China, after Panama announced earlier in the day that it was switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Despite Beijing’s constant suppression of Taiwan’s international space, the Republic of China (ROC) remains a sovereign nation and that is a fact Beijing cannot deny, Tsai said at a news conference after the announcement.
In addition, the ROC’s existence and its value and status in the international community cannot be changed, she said.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
“Our approach of not competing with Beijing’s ‘checkbook diplomacy’ will not change,” she added.
On behalf of Taiwan’s 23 million people, “we will not compromise under its threat,” she said.
“Our only choice is to work together against the threat,” which is the most powerful way to highlight Taiwan’s sovereignty, Tsai said, adding that Taiwan’s existence and its presence in the international arena are vital to regional peace and stability.
“We would not be happy to see cross-strait relations go from peaceful to confrontational because of Beijing’s mistaken thinking and provocations,” she said.
The president said her message to Beijing is that Taiwan has fulfilled its responsibility to maintain cross-strait peace and stability, but Beijing’s actions have affected the stable cross-strait “status quo,” which is unacceptable to Taiwanese.
National security authorities had been keeping abreast of the situation as it developed and had done their best, but Panama’s final decision was regrettable, she said.
The government would now work to ensure that national economic plans would not be affected and would continue to protect the rights of Taiwanese businesspeople and other Taiwanese in the Central American nation, she said.
At a separate news conference, Presidential Office Secretary-
General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) described Beijing’s action as a “mistake” that would hurt the cross-strait “status quo” and push cross-strait ties from peace toward confrontation, adding that the government would re-evaluate the cross-strait situation.
He also urged Beijing to desist from any moves that could damage regional stability and hurt Taiwanese, and appealed to Taiwanese to stand united in the face of external challenges.
“Such action is not only a blatant threat to Taiwanese’s right to survive, but also a blatant provocation to cross-strait and regional peace and stability,” he said. “We hereby express our serious condemnation.”
Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) told a separate news conference that the government would not rule out reviewing related policies, including those on cross-strait ties and taking “necessary measures.”
He said that over the past year, the government has committed itself to maintaining cross-strait peace and stability by exercising restraint and showing good will.
However, Beijing has repeatedly hurt the feelings of Taiwanese and created confrontation and conflict across the Taiwan Strait, he said, adding that Chinese authorities must “take full responsibility” for damaging cross-strait peace and stability.
Premier Lin Chuan (林全) also expressed regret over Panama’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish formal relations with China.
“I do not think it is effective if China believes it can achieve its ‘one China’ principle by poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. In fact, it could backfire and cause cross-strait relations to deteriorate,” Lin said.
Additional reporting by Chen Wei-han
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