Thu, Apr 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan ready against Chinese ‘challenges’: president

THREAT TO FREEDOM:Like-minded nations are seeing that China poses a threat not only to a single nation, but to their collective security, President Tsai Ing-wen said

Staff writer, with CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen speaks from Taipei via video link at a conference titled “The Taiwan Relations Act at Forty and US-Taiwan Relations” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on Tuesday.

Photo: CNA

Taiwan is ready to defend its democratic way of life amid “unprecedented challenges” from China, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Tuesday.

Speaking to US think tanks in Washington during a video conference, Tsai said that the nation’s “democratic way of life faces unprecedented challenges” from Beijing, which has used multiple approaches to influence public opinion in Taiwan over the years.

“Using economic incentives, control over sources of information and critical subversion, China’s objective is to divide our society, erode trust in public institutions and make people question our traditional alliances,” she said.

Tsai reaffirmed the resolution of Taiwanese to defend democracy and freedom.

“The people of Taiwan are deeply committed to protect this system against all threats, particularly from across the Strait,” Tsai said.

The president expressed thanks for the support shown by like-minded nations around the world, particularly the US and Japan, as they begin to learn the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party.

Like-minded nations are seeing more clearly that China poses a threat not only to one nation, “but to our collective security as well as our shared values and interests,” Tsai said.

She urged Washington to make it clear that protecting Taiwan’s security is vital to the defense of democracy, and any threat to the nation’s freedom, democracy and way of life is of critical concern to the US.

“This is a message that should not only be conveyed to the people of Taiwan, but more importantly, to the other side of the Strait, so that they know expansionist actions against Taiwan are also a threat directed to the free world,” she said.

Giving an example of Beijing’s provocative behavior, Tsai said that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force on March 31 sent two fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait, a move that contravened a long-held tacit agreement between the two sides.

The transgression was not only a challenge to the Democratic Progressive Party administration she leads, but also to the nation’s democratic system, Tsai said.

To meet rising military threats from China, her government has increased the defense budget over the years to build “nimble, agile and survivable” armed forces and show that Taiwan is capable of defending itself and maintaining peace and stability across the Strait, she said.

Tsai made the comments during a video conference titled “The Taiwan Relations Act at Forty and US-Taiwan Relations,” which was cohosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Brookings Institution and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Few could have imagined that the Taiwan-US partnership would become stronger than ever 40 years after Washington recognized Beijing in 1979, Tsai said.

The president said that she sees great potential for bilateral economic and trade relations between Taiwan and the US, as the two have a complementary relationship, not a competitive one.

She again called on the US to officially engage with the nation on bilateral trade so that Taiwan can contribute further to the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy proposed by US President Donald Trump.

The act was signed in April 1979 by then-US president Jimmy Carter, a few months after the US switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

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