Sat, Oct 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan thanks Pence for his support

PAWN?Premier William Lai dismissed concern that Taiwan might be a pawn in the US-China conflict, stressing Taiwanese sovereignty and calling on the public to unite

By Peng Wan-hsin, Su Fun-her and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer and CNA

The government yesterday expressed its appreciation to US Vice President Mike Pence for recognizing Taiwanese democracy and supporting its international space.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Thursday, Pence accused Beijing of using “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence around the world.

Since last year, Beijing has convinced three Latin American nations to cut ties with Taipei and recognize China, Pence said.

“These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States of America condemns these actions,” he said.

“And while our administration will continue to respect our ‘one China’ policy, as reflected in the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people,” he said.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has remained unchanged with regard to her goodwill and commitment to cross-strait relations, but will not yield to China’s pressure, the Presidential Office said.

As a responsible participant in the international community, Taiwan will continue to contribute to cross-strait and regional security and well-being, it added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also thanked Pence for representing the US government in expressing its support for Taiwan.

The US’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy calls for free and fair trade and a “rules-based order,” it said.

As an important member of the Indo-Pacific region with a market economy and democracy, Taiwan is pleased to work with the US and other nations with similar ideologies to fulfill its responsibility as a member of the region, and to play a key role in promoting regional peace, stability and prosperity, it said.

Meanwhile, when asked by reporters whether he is worried that Taiwan might become a “pawn” of the US, Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday said there is no need to worry about those who support Taiwan.

The US is the leader of the democratic world, and defending the international community and democracy is the founding spirit of the US, Lai said.

Taiwan is an independent, sovereign nation that enjoys democracy and freedom and values human rights, he said.

Taiwan also has its own stance and will defend its own rights and interests, he added.

The most important thing is for Taiwanese to unite and fight for the nation, instead of worrying that it could become a pawn of those who support it, the premier said.

Lai was also asked whether he thought the timing of a US military exercise in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea next month was sensitive as Taiwan is holding its nine-in-one elections on Nov. 24.

The US Department of Defense has yet to confirm the reports, so Taiwan will not comment on them, Lai said.

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