Wed, Aug 15, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Tsai lauds Reagan for democratic values

APPRECIATION:In her first public US address as president, Tsai Ing-wen said with former US president Ronald Reagan that ‘our freedom and our future cannot be compromised’

Staff writer, with CNA, Los Angeles

President Tsai Ing-wen speaks to reporters in front of a section of the Berlin Wall at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, on Monday.

Photo: Su Yung-yao, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday praised former US president Ronald Reagan for safeguarding the values of democracy and freedom, and voiced her appreciation for his support of Taiwan during a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

In her first public address in the US since she took office as president, Tsai quoted Reagan in addressing gathered Taiwanese media: “Anything can be negotiated except that our freedom and our future cannot be compromised.”

“I believe this is also how we Taiwanese feel now,” Tsai said, referring to current cross-strait relations.

The quote was made when Reagan failed to agree about arms reduction with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Iceland in 1986.

“I went to Reykjavik determined that everything was negotiable except for two things: our freedom and our future,” Reagan said at the time.

In January 1979, diplomatic relations between the Republic of China and the US were severed due to Washington establishing diplomatic links with Beijing.

Although Reagan never made good on his election promise to resume ties with Taiwan during his tenure, he maintained friendly relations. In 1982, he approved the Six Assurances toward Taiwan, which include US pledges on arms sales and assurances not to pressure Taiwan into negotiating with Beijing or to formally recognize Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

Tsai said the “six assurances” have been an important foundation of Taiwan-US policy.

“For Taiwan-US relations to be able to develop in a stable and solid manner over the past several decades, Reagan’s contributions during his tenure cannot be forgotten,” said Tsai, who arrived in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Tsai is the third Taiwanese president to have visited the library during an overseas trip, following former presidents Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) in 2014 and 2001 respectively.

In Taipei yesterday, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the ministry expressed appreciation to the US for offering such “high-level treatment” to the president.

Tsai on Sunday visited the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office’s Culture Center in Los Angeles, making her the first president to visit one of the nation’s representative offices based in the US.

After her stopover, Tsai departed on Monday evening for Paraguay, where she is to attend the inauguration of president-elect Mario Abdo Benitez today.

Tomorrow, Tsai is to head to Belize for a three-day visit, during which she is to be decorated by Governor-General Colville Young and meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

On Saturday, Tsai is to make a 27-hour transit stop in Houston, Texas, before returning to Taiwan.

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