President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Thursday received the Hudson Institute’s Global Leadership Award for her work to deepen the nation’s ties with the US and her determination to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Hudson Institute Board of Trustees chair Sarah May Stern along with president and CEO John Walters presented the award to Tsai on Thursday night during her stopover in New York before departing to visit Guatemala and Belize, two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies.
The award “is presented to exceptional individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in service of the principles at the core of Hudson’s mission of promoting security, freedom and prosperity,” the institute’s Web site said.
Tsai “has led a vibrant democracy with great courage and clear-eyed determination to resist tyranny and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Walters said.
Under her leadership, the US and Taiwan have expanded and deepened their security and economic relationship, he said, adding that “we are proud that America stands with Taiwan.”
Tsai is “a frontline defender of democracy” by the US and many countries around the world, Walters said, adding that Americans can learn an important lesson from her and the people of Taiwan.
Tsai said the award is “a tribute to the people of Taiwan,” as their courage and perseverance ended the Martial Law era and transformed Taiwan into a democratic nation that continues to pursue peace and prosperity with like-minded partners.
Taiwan always responds to escalations of tensions provoked by China with prudence and calmness, demonstrating to the world that Taiwan acts responsibly, Tsai said.
Taiwanese hope for peace, but history shows that the best way to avoid war is to be stronger than adversaries, she said.
Taiwan has grown closer to democratic countries around the world, but is still excluded from the UN and other international organizations, an injustice that must end, she said.
Safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is crucial, as cross-strait instability brings economic and security risks to the world, Tsai said, adding that the world should forge deeper security cooperation and robust economic partnerships with Taiwan.
Taiwan is not only “resilient and deeply believes in the power of democracy,” but also “determined to protect our way of life,” she said.
The US and Taiwan “have much in common when it comes to individual rights, liberty and democracy,” Washington-based Heritage Foundation founder Edwin Feulner said.
Regarding people who protested outside the ceremony venue, Feulner said that “it is unfortunate that a friend of democracy, a friend of the American people, received such a welcome and confrontation in the US.”
Asked whether Tsai would speak with former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, who did not attend as had been speculated, Deputy Secretary-General to the President Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said that Tsai would interact and communicate with friends in the US as much as possible during her stay.
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