Sat, May 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Tsai plans to counter China with law

UNITY IS KEY:The president said that China’s encroachment is not as disturbing as divisions in Taiwan or a lack of determination with regards to defending the nation

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Text reading “Celebrate the Republic of China’s 108th anniversary” is displayed on the Presidential Office Building in Taipei on Jan. 1.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Taiwan needs a strong government and a united society to protect its sovereign territories and democratic way of life, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, adding that appeasement or making compromises would not bring stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Tsai made the remarks at a news conference following a high-level national security meeting, where she also announced a slew of legal initiatives that she said would bolster Taiwan’s defenses against China’s “united front” infiltration tactics.

Officials have been told of the administration’s intent to counter those moves by hastening the creation of a legal “safety net for democracy,” she said.

The legislature has supported the effort by amending the Criminal Code and the Classified National Security Information Protection Act (國家機密保護法), she added.

Other laws to be amended include the Criminal Code of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍刑法), the Trade Secrets Act (營業秘密法), the National Intelligence Services Act (國家情報工作法) and the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), she said.

As China increases pressure on Taiwan, the public should be made aware of several alarming cross-strait developments it had initiated, she said.

Beijing is using propaganda, conducting so-called “democratic negotiations” with Taiwanese groups, and attempting to isolate Taiwan militarily and diplomatically to force Taiwanese to submit to its “the one country, two systems” scheme, she said.

China is also meddling with next year’s general elections by ordering its Taiwan Affairs Office to sow division and prompt Taiwanese politicians to make pro-Beijing statements, as it has done in previous elections, she said.

Further, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is likely to continue its saber-rattling in the Taiwan Strait with sea and air drills, even as it challenges the US for control over the South China Sea, she said.

The nation’s armed forces are building submarines, as well as anti-air and anti-ship missile systems, while regularizing the procurement of foreign arms, Tsai said.

The government deems continued and robust arms sales from the US, the US House of Representatives’ passage of the Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019, and the Port of Kaohsiung’s establishment of a submarine construction and repair facility as positive developments, among others, the president said.

“The nation should be assured that we will deter any and all Chinese efforts to cause incidents in the Taiwan Strait, and Taiwan will ceaselessly strengthen its defense capabilities as a force for regional peace,” she said.

Beijing’s obstruction of Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Assembly has resulted in international condemnation, Tsai said, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other agencies are informing the world of China’s aggressive intent through a variety of channels.

“The encroachment of a foreign power is less disturbing than divisions amongst ourselves or our failure to show the determination to defend ourselves,” she said. “Our strategy ... is to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and democracy by preventing any act of Chinese aggression against Taiwan.”

“Only a strong government and a unified Taiwanese society can protect the nation’s sovereign and territorial integrity, and guarantee that our democratic way of life survives for generations to come,” Tsai said.

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