President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) criticized China for seeking to change the “status quo” across the Taiwan Strait, but said that the US was responding positively to Taipei’s requests for new arms sales in the face of growing pressure from China, as she spoke via video link on Wednesday during a transit stop in Hawaii to a Heritage Foundation seminar in Washington.
Despite Taiwan’s efforts to pursue peaceful coexistence, China has “used every opportunity to alter the ‘status quo’” and undermine Taiwan’s democratic institutions, heighten military tensions and limit the nation’s international space, Tsai said.
Beijing’s schemes have led to growing distrust among Taiwanese, posing an underlying challenge to the future of cross-strait relations, she said.
Photo: AP, courtesy of the Presidential Office
“China’s actions have underscored the need for Taiwan to increase our self-defense and deterrence capabilities. To be clear, we seek peace, not hostility,” she said. “We will continue to seek closer partnerships with like-minded countries so that we can fulfill the promise of the Indo-Pacific strategy,” which seeks to make nations sovereign, without being subject to coercion.
“It is rooted in our shared desire to sustain the rules-based framework that has been at the heart of this region’s prosperity since the Second World War. We believe that any effort to change that framework would be a fundamental mistake,” she added. “Taiwan is a force for good in the region. We are a democracy and the only democratic Chinese-speaking country in the world.”
Taiwan takes pride in its freedom and human rights, which are the basis of the nation’s values, and is deeply committed to fostering a more peaceful, stable and prosperous regional environment, she said.
“My administration has pledged to be much more forceful in defending Taiwan’s hard-won freedoms and ensuring that our country continues to be a beacon of democracy in the Indo-Pacific,” she said.
The government has submitted new requests to the US for M1 Abrams tanks and F-16V jets, which “would greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the US commitment to Taiwan’s defense,” she said.
She said the process of US arms sales to Taiwan had become less politicized, adding: “We are able to have frank discussions with the US on the right equipment for Taiwan’s defense and the US is responding positively to our request.”
Mounting pressure from China for Taiwan to accept its “one country, two systems” model and Beijing’s attempts to alter the cross-strait “status quo” underscored the need for Taiwan to “increase our self-defense and deterrence capabilities,” the president said.
“Fortunately ... Taiwan does not stand alone,” she said. “The US’ commitment to Taiwan is stronger than ever.”
She said Taiwanese were also learning from Hong Kong’s experience under Beijing’s rule.
“‘One country, two systems’ will become just one country. The two systems do not seem to be respected that much,” she said.
Taiwan is taking a much more aggressive approach to counteract the Chinese government’s infiltration of its society and economy, as well as its interference in its domestic affairs, she said.
“We are also stepping up our engagements in the Pacific islands, where China has engaged in a campaign to increase its influence in the region. We have noted growing awareness of China’s efforts by the US, Australia, New Zealand and other responsible stakeholders,” she said.
Tsai thanked the US for its support in helping Taiwan maintain its diplomatic alliances, adding: “We remain committed to working with like-minded countries to protect the core values of good governance, accountability and sustainable development in the Pacific.”
Additional reporting by Reuters
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational