At a news conference marking the seventh anniversary of her presidency at the Presidential Office in Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday vowed to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in the face of China’s political and military intimidation. “The global consensus is clear: The Taiwan Strait issue must be resolved peacefully; war is not an option. Neither side can change the status quo through non-peaceful means,” Tsai said.
As Taiwan has become a key word around the world and the Taiwan Strait has become the focal point of international discussion, cross-strait issues, which are no longer just a regional matter, must be managed from a global perspective.
“Maintaining the status quo of peace and stability is the consensus for the world and Taiwan,” Tsai said.
The consensus was also mentioned in the joint communique following the G7 summit over the weekend. Signatories included Australia, Brazil, India, South Korea, Indonesia etc., which have expressed concern about situation in the East and South China seas, and strongly “oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion “
The leaders of major democratic countries called for a peaceful resolution to cross-strait issues, and reaffirm “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as indispensable to security and prosperity in the international community.”
US President Joe Biden further said that “there is clear understanding among most of our allies that, in fact, if China were to act unilaterally, there would be a response.”
It is not only the G7 that has stressed the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait: The EU, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, major Asian powers including Japan, South Korea and India, as well as Australia, also repeatedly expressed their opposition to any unilateral changes to the “status quo” by force, calling for a peaceful resolution to cross-strait issues in accordance with international law.
Peace in the Taiwan Strait has become a top agenda item for the international community. The Taiwan issue has been a critical part of the global strategic alliance of democratic countries to counter autocratic regimes seeking to change the global order, namely China, Russia and North Korea.
While trying to improve diplomatic relations and economic engagement with the global community after the COVID-19 pandemic, China should take note of the growing calls for peace in the Taiwan Strait in response to its coercive actions in the region and allow leeway for engagement with the world, instead of spouting more military threats.
Maintaining the cross-strait “status quo” on the basis of Taiwan’s freedom and sovereignty is also the largest common denominator among Taiwanese. While the international community supports stability in the region, Taiwan should show solidarity in defending itself.
In her address, Tsai said that Taiwan will not provoke a conflict and will never bow to pressure, adding: “Taiwan is never a risk creator, but a reasonable risk manager,” and vowed that the nation would stand with democratic countries and communities around the world to jointly defuse global threats, including by resolving differences with China through dialogue and an equal footing.
The candidates in next year’s presidential election should reveal their cross-strait stances not only to unite the country, but also to respond to the international community, so that the voters can make the best choice for Taiwan to share the responsibility for international peace.
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