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China anxious over Taiwan's ties with world: president

2018/05/24 22:49:12

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, center), Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德, left) and Presidential Office Secretary-General Chen Chu (陳菊, right)

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) The recent actions by China to pressure Taiwan reflects Beijing's anxiety and lack of confidence caused by the significant progress Taiwan has made in building economic and security ties with like-minded countries, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Thursday.

Tsai called an impromptu press conference at 8:50 p.m. Thursday to address the nation after Burkina Faso announced it was cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the second country to switch allegiance to China in a month following the Dominican Republic on May 1.

China has increasingly sought to pressure Taiwan by flying military aircraft around the nation, forcing Taiwan's diplomatic allies to sever ties and international enterprises to change Taiwan's designation, preventing Taiwan from attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) and other international organizations, Tsai said.

Tsai also listed a recent case, in which a Republic of China flag in a children's art project in Australia was painted over due to pressure from China, as an example of Beijing's "brutal" exercise of political muscle against Taiwan.

The more atrocious the actions China has taken against Taiwan, the more international dislike of China has grown, Tsai said, "and thus the international community has strengthened support for Taiwan."

The fact that representatives from 23 countries spoke up for Taiwan at this year's WHA, the highest number in history, "is a testament" to that fact, Tsai said.

"I am here to address our fellow countrymen. The atrocious actions by China aimed at denigrating our sovereignty are testing our bottom line," she said. "We will tolerate no more. It serves only to strengthen our resolve to be part of the wider world."

Tsai said she had a warning for China that such behavior will not help the positive development of cross-strait relations, will not improve China's international image, and will not reduce the qualms of the international community.

Burkina Faso's decision leaves Taiwan with 18 diplomatic allies, down from 22 since Tsai took office in May 2016. Sao Tome and Principe cut ties with Taiwan in December that year, followed by Panama in June 2017.

Tsai thanked the countries that remain diplomatic allies with Taiwan. "We are committed to strengthening our relationships with our allies. We will never back down."

The president reaffirmed that Taiwan will never engage in
"dollar diplomacy," saying that the tactics employed by China have merely served to increase dissatisfaction and suspicion of its global presence.

"I must reiterate that more pressure from China will only lead Taiwan to forge closer partnerships with the international community. We will never back down," she said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
Enditem/AW