Sat, Jul 13, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Tsai meets with allies’ envoys in NY amid scuffles

OPPOSITION ABROAD:Police had to intervene in scuffles between the president’s supporters and demonstrators — some waving Chinese flags — outside her hotel

Staff writer, with CNA and AFP, NEW YORK

President Tsai Ing-wen, front row center, National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee, front row third left, and Representative to the US Stanley Kao, second row center, pose for photographs at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York yesterday alongside 17 diplomatic allies’ permanent representatives to the UN, including Amatlain Elizabeth Kabua of the Marshall Islands, front row left; Lois Michele Young of Belize, front row second left; Marlene Moses of Nauru, front row fourth left; Mary Elizabeth Flores of Honduras, front row fourth right; and Inga Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, front row second right.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday met with several representatives to the UN in New York, where she was making a two-day stopover en route to the Caribbean.

In a speech at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York, Tsai addressed the representatives to the UN from the 17 countries that recognize Taiwan as a country, saying that she hoped they would continue to support the nation’s efforts to gain access to the UN.

“The 23 million people in Taiwan have the right to participate in international affairs,” Tsai said. “Their participation should not be prevented based on political interference.”

“Taiwan will not give in to intimidation,” she said, referring to China’s efforts to suppress Taiwan.

Taiwan’s allies are crucial as its pathway to the rest of the world, she added.

“Your efforts amplify the voice of the Taiwanese people, letting the whole world hear our desires,” Tsai said at the first open event at TECO New York hosted by a sitting Taiwanese president.

Tsai arrived in New York earlier in the day for a two-night layover on her way to Caribbean, where she is to make a 12-day state visit to Haiti; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Saint Kitts and Nevis; and Saint Lucia.

Meanwhile, New York police broke up fights between supporters and opponents of Tsai.

Taiwanese media broadcast footage of the clashes outside the Grand Hyatt, where Tsai is staying during her stopover.

Opponents of Tsai — many waving Chinese flags — chanted slogans and fought with supporters, while one man was seen being detained and handcuffed by police.

“China is firmly opposed to official exchanges between the US and Taiwan,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said at a media briefing yesterday.

“We urge the US ... to not let Tsai Ing-wen pass through its territory,” he said, adding that the US should not provide a platform for “Taiwan independence separatist forces.”

With the US engaged in a trade war with China, relations between Taipei and Washington have warmed considerably.

Last week, the US Department of State approved a US$2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, including main battle tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, the first big-ticket military deal for the nation in years.

“Taiwan will not succumb to intimidation,” the Presidential Office said in a statement released as Tsai’s visit began, without specifically mentioning China. “All difficulties will only strengthen our determination to go out to the international community.”

Tsai was yesterday scheduled to attend a business forum and is today to meet students before heading to the Caribbean.

China has poached five of Taipei’s dwindling number of allies since Tsai became president in 2016.

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