Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier.
As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries.
The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, the US, the UK, the European Parliament, the Central American Integration System and others, the ministry said.
In a prepared video, US Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger, speaking in Mandarin, said that Taiwan shows the world that free and open democracies are universal values, not just American or Western.
Commending Taiwan’s success in containing the pandemic, Pottinger said that the US would continue to press other countries and organizations, such as the WHO, to put human lives above politics and to choose freedom over repression.
“We look forward to working closely with Taiwan across the full range of economic, cultural, educational, security and other types of cooperative activities where we have so many common interests and values,” he added.
“Madam president, under your leadership, the United States and Taiwan have deepened our strong partnership. We applaud your commitment to maintaining cross-strait stability in the face of unrelenting pressure,” US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell said.
Their remarks came on the heels of Pompeo’s statement released on Tuesday.
“I would like to congratulate Dr Tsai Ing-wen on the commencement of her second term as Taiwan’s President... Her courage and vision in leading Taiwan’s vibrant democracy is an inspiration to the region and the world,” Pompeo said.
“The United States has long considered Taiwan a force for good in the world and a reliable partner. Support for Taiwan in the United States is bipartisan and unanimous,” he said, referring to the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, US legislation promoting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.
“We have a shared vision for the region — one that includes rule of law, transparency, prosperity, and security for all. The recent COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for the international community to see why Taiwan’s pandemic-response model is worthy of emulation,” he said.
This is the first time that a US secretary of state has issued a statement to congratulate Taiwan’s president on their inauguration, the ministry said.
China slammed the US for its “dangerous” decision to congratulate Tsai.
“It is extremely wrong, and it’s also very dangerous,” the Chinese Ministry of National Defense said.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was “extremely indignant” at the message and accused Washington of breaching its diplomatic commitments.
Meanwhile, Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Chairman Mitsuo Ohashi said in a footage: “I pray for the peace, well-being and prosperity of Taiwan.”
On the association’s post on Facebook, he also praised Taiwan’s success in containing the novel coronavirus, and thanked Taiwan for donating masks and offering assistance.
“You are a beacon of democracy in Asia, and we as the German Bundestag appreciate that very much,” said Klaus-Peter Willsch, chairman of the German-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group.
“Taiwan still is a country for freedom and progress and happiness. You [Tsai] have done a very good job. Keep up the good work,” Danish Parliament Deputy Speaker Pia Kjaersgaard said.
Pope Francis congratulated Tsai in a written letter, the ministry said, but added that it could not share the diplomatic document from the nation’s only diplomatic ally in Europe.
Leaders from the nation’s other 14 allies also expressed their congratulations in recorded video clips.
“Under the leadership of President Tsai, we have developed even closer relations, people-to-people bonds,” Saint Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said. “The people in this country love her in the same way that the people of Taiwan [do].”
Additional reporting AFP
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