Wed, May 17, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Chen encourages his diplomats to continue struggle

PERSEVERE President Chen Shui-bian told Taiwan's ambassadors that democracy was the nation's best weapon in its battle against China

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan must not flinch in the face of China's relentless diplomatic suppression and should make good use of its democratic achievements to counter its giant neighbor, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

"Our trump card is democracy, a political institution of great value, which China lacks," Chen said. "It is not enough to rely on our agricultural and medical missions to secure diplomatic allies. Our best advantage comes from democracy, freedom, respect for human rights and our desire for peace."

Chen made the remarks while receiving the nation's diplomats, ambassadors and trade office representatives at the Presidential Office yesterday morning.

The officials returned to Taiwan to brief Chen and Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) on the progress of the nation's diplomatic undertakings abroad.

Chen told the diplomats that China's economic boom had occurred in tandem with a military buildup, noting that the more China developed, the more it suppressed Taiwan.

"Under China's implacable diplomatic suppression of Taiwan -- dubbed the `three guang' strategy (三光政策), you [diplomats] have to work harder than your international counterparts," he said. "Despite all the difficulties, we must not underestimate our ability nor give up hope."

The "three guang" strategy refers to Beijing's determination to "take all" of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, "block all" of Taiwan's international channels and "crush all" of Taiwan's international presence.

Beijing has snatched four of Taiwan's diplomatic allies since the Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2000. Taiwan currently has 25 diplomatic allies, with 12 in Latin America, six in East Asia and the Pacific, another six in Africa and one in Europe.

Citing the example of his just-concluded state visit to Latin America, Chen said the public has witnessed the impediments the nation encounters.

"We had to make strenuous effort to safeguard the nation's dignity and sovereignty as well as make a diplomatic breakthrough," he said. "We were indeed under a tremendous amount of pressure, but we were not afraid and we managed to tough it out. The experience only proves that God will not close all the doors."

As long as diplomats continued to exert themselves in serving the country, Chen said, the nation would not be excluded from the international arena.

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