The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed the Halifax International Security Forum’s announcement that it would host its first major event in Asia from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 next year in Taipei, after it earlier presented a leadership prize to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).
The Washington-based group of security officials from the world’s democratic states has said it would cohost HFX Taipei with the Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
In May, the group awarded Tsai the 2020 John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service in recognition of her handling of COVID-19 and guarding Taiwan’s democracy, which sparked ire from Beijing.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
HFX Taipei would be Halifax’s first major meeting in Asia, and underscores that Taiwan is a democratic state and participant in the affairs of the region, the ministry said in a news release.
The ministry would work with Halifax and the institute to ensure the success of the event, which would help Taiwan and like-minded partners defend shared democratic values, it said.
The meeting would be attended by internationally recognized opinion leaders, the institute said in a statement.
Since its establishment by the Ministry of National Defense in 2018, the institute has promoted “think tank diplomacy” with counterparts in other states, including Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the UK and the US, as well as European countries, it said.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers hailed the news as a sign of improving ties with the world’s powerful democracies.
“The [Halifax] think tank is heavily funded by the Canadian government,” DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said. “The HFX Taipei forum is effectively a form of semi-official cooperation between the two state-level think tanks.”
Politico had reported that the Canadian government had warned the forum not to give the award to Tsai for fear of angering Beijing. Canada denied the report.
After many US senators and Canadian representatives voiced support for the forum’s decision, it presented the award to Tsai.
DPP Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said the institute would discuss security issues regarding China at the forum.
“This shows that the world’s democracies are coming together to resist totalitarian China,” he said.
That Canadian lawmakers have stood by the forum in honoring Tsai suggests that Canadians’ views on China have changed, he said.
Beijing’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy and saber-rattling is not likely to have an effect on that country, he added.
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