President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a recent interview with CNN that her decision on whether to accept an invitation to address the US Congress would depend on three major considerations.
While ties with the US improved after US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, in the interview with CNN correspondent Matt Rivers on Monday, Tsai said that it was not a simple decision to make and would require “comprehensive consideration.”
“From our perspective, would we accept such an invitation if it were extended? We would have to look at it from several angles,” Tsai said.
Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times
Tsai laid out three major considerations: “Would delivering an address in Washington DC be in the interests of Taiwan, benefit Taiwan-US relations, and serve peace and stability in the region?”
On Feb. 7, a group of US senators wrote a joint letter to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, calling on her to invite Tsai to address a joint session of the US Congress.
The letter was signed by Cory Gardner, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
Some US politicians have opposed the proposal, with former American Institute in Taiwan chairman Richard Bush saying that it was flawed, as it would not be conducive to US relations with China and would hurt Taiwan.
Former US deputy assistant secretary of state Susan Shirk even said the proposal was a “huge mistake,” adding that it would be highly irresponsible for Trump to use Taiwan as leverage in dealing with China.
Tsai, who came to power in May 2016, also said in the interview that she intended to seek re-election next year.
According to CNN, Tsai, throughout the interview, painted the picture that Taiwan was facing down the growing might of China.
Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) called for the peaceful unification of China and Taiwan, but declined to discount the use of force.
“Chairman Xi Jinping’s New Year’s address alerted Taiwan to the fact that its independent existence could be changed, because Xi has started to talk about unification and the ‘one country, two systems’ concept,” Tsai told CNN.
When asked “if China invaded tomorrow, would you count on the US military to be there?” Tsai said that Taiwan has been strengthening its military capability.
“Our defenses are well-prepared for an attack at any time — for any situation where we would need to fend China off for 24 hours,” Tsai said. “So we would hope that after withstanding any first wave of attacks ourselves, other countries throughout the world would stand up in unison and put strong pressure upon China in response.”
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