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Taiwan a chess player, not a pawn: president

2018/04/10 23:23:23

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, CNA file photo)

Taipei, April 10 (CNA) Taiwan is not a small country at the mercy of other countries but one endowed with formidable economic and military strength, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday, as she sought to allay fears that Taiwan could become a pawn in the politics of global powers.

In a pre-recorded interview with Era News that aired Tuesday night, Tsai said young people, especially from foreign countries, often ask her questions that reflect their concern Taiwan could be used as a "pawn" by the global powers.

"This is my answer to them: Do not underestimate Taiwan. With a population of 23 million, Taiwan is not a small country, while the economic and military might Taiwan has developed also make it a country with considerable strength," Tsai said.

The president went on to say: "Although it's a common saying that we are a pawn at the mercy of others. Do not forget we ourselves are also a chess player."

Tsai made the remarks when she was asked by Arthur Hsieh (謝震武), the host, to comment on the recent abolition of term limits for China's president which paves the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) to remain in power until he dies.

"I have only one comment on the external environment: It is getting more complicated and changeable, posing a serious challenge to our national security team," Tsai said.

Taiwan must resolutely improve its self-defense capability and cooperate with countries that share the same interests so as to deter the country's potential enemies from even thinking about taking military action against Taiwan, Tsai said.

It was when asked to elaborate on her administration's strategy on leveraging the relationship with the United States and China in the interest of Taiwan that Tsai made the remarks about Taiwan being a chess player not a pawn.

Hsieh then said that U.S. President Donald Trump was in fact Taiwan's pawn, to which Tsai did not respond, choosing instead to reiterate the importance of "strategic adaptability."

Earlier Tuesday, Jack Yu (游梓翔), head of the College of Journalism and Communication at Shih Hsin University, posted on his Facebook page that Tsai had said in the interview with Era News that "Trump is our pawn."

The Chinese-language China Times and the United Daily News both carried reports of Yu's FB post on their websites. The Presidential Office issued a statement demanding Yu and the two newspapers apologize for spreading disinformation.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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