Next year’s presidential election is a choice between value systems and ways of life, and the sustainability of democracy and freedom, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Saturday.
After concluding a state visit to the nation’s four Caribbean allies on Friday, Tsai made a two-night stopover in Denver, Colorado, on her way home and held an informal meeting with reporters accompanying her delegation.
Commenting on foreign media reports that next year’s presidential and legislative elections would be a battle between pro-China and pro-US camps, Tsai said she sees the elections as “a choice between value systems and ways of life.”
Taiwan is a democratic society and its voters are focused on the nation’s future, especially whether its democratic way of life and freedom can be sustained, said Tsai, of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is running for re-election.
“We hope for peace and stability when handling cross-strait relations, we also hope that China will understand the hopes and priorities of Taiwanese that are expressed in each general election,” she added.
Asked about possible presidential challenges by the pro-independence Formosa Alliance or by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), Tsai said that she aims to forge a coalition of supporters of Taiwan and the Republic of China.
The Formosa Alliance has organized itself into a political party, but has yet to nominate a presidential candidate. Ko has said he would announce next month whether he would run for president.
Regarding a running mate, Tsai said that the political situation is still developing and the DPP would hold a discussion later.
“Our objective remains to create the best and most competitive ticket for 2020,” she added.
During her trip to the Caribbean, interacting with local people and witnessing Taiwan’s assistance to its allies, such as helping Saint Lucia eradicate a disease that damaged banana crops, moved her, Tsai said.
American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty also attended Tsai’s meeting with the press, and she thanked the US government for helping on her Caribbean trip.
Asked if she thought Taiwan would become a bargaining chip in US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign next year or in US-China trade negotiations, Tsai said she would not comment on US domestic politics.
However, she believes Taiwan has the support of Americans and US political parties, she said.
Taiwan should have its own strategies and ideas based on its interests, and continue its cooperation and positive relations with the US, Tsai said.
Tsai on Saturday also visited the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.
She was welcomed by center director Everette Joseph, a group of Taiwanese scientists working at the facility and Taiwanese students in the area.
The center and Taiwanese scientists developed Formosat-7, the second satellite constellation jointly built by Taiwan and the US after Formosat-3.
She visited the Earth Observing Laboratory, one of the center’s seven laboratories, where she was given a tour of research aircraft.
Tsai later had lunch with US Senator Cory Gardner, who represents Colorado.
She is scheduled to arrive home today.
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