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Taiwan-U.S. ties the best as TRA enters 40 year: foreign minister

2019/03/12 17:26:05

Joseph Wu (吳釗燮)

Los Angeles, March 11 (CNA) While the threat posed by China is growing more serious, Taiwan's relations with the United States are stronger than ever as the two countries prepare to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), Taiwan's minister of foreign affairs said in a speech in Los Angeles Monday.

Invited by the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) gave a speech at a luncheon in the Millennium Biltmore Hotel titled "Taiwan: An Enduring Partner with the U.S. in the Free and Open Indo-Pacific."

At the event, which attracted an audience of 300, Wu was referred to by his formal title "Taiwan's Foreign Minister" and the national flags of the United States and the Republic of China were prominently displayed on the two sides of the hall.

After greeting the audience, Wu said he was honored to have the opportunity to share the story of the 23 million people of democratic Taiwan, its 40-year partnership with the U.S., and Taiwan's role as a force for good in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Wu said that the people of Taiwan endured 38 years of martial law, "but we never gave up on our pursuit for freedom and democracy."

"Through the efforts of many who sacrificed for our civil liberties and freedom, Taiwan has moved out of that dark chapter of history and blossomed into a full-fledged democracy," according to the transcript of his speech in English provided by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Citing comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence praising Taiwan's embrace of democracy in October last year, the minister said: "We are absolutely committed to defending and strengthening our democracy, and ensuring that it remains resilient."

However, Wu also warned of the intensified campaign to subvert Taiwan's democracy through military intimidation, economic coercion, diplomatic assaults, disinformation and political subversion.

He particularly highlighted China's recent efforts to alter Taiwan's status into a province of China, as well as its military exercises in waters around Taiwan.

"Taiwan should never allow that scenario to happen. We are absolutely committed to defending ourselves from the onslaught of Chinese expansionism," Wu contended.

"We need to be resilient to show to the world that democracy is the better path for mankind," he said.

Turning to the TRA, Wu said it has served as a guiding principle and a cornerstone for the development of a deep, robust, and comprehensive partnership between Taiwan and the U.S.

"There is no better time to reinforce this special bond and build on our strong ties and our shared values as we celebrate four decades of enduring friendship," he said, adding that since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May 2016, the Taiwan-U.S. partnership has become much stronger.

This has been seen by the U.S. House and Senate passing a series of bills, legal clauses and statements supporting Taiwan in the area of security cooperation and the country's multiple announcements of arms sales to Taiwan, the minister of foreign affairs indicated.

"In addition, we have received unprecedented U.S. support for Taiwan's international participation."

At the end of the speech, Wu underlined that Taiwan is a frontline state defending democracy, freedom and the global rules-based order.

"We seek to strengthen our democracy, safeguard our freedom of the press and speech," he said.

"At this critical juncture where great-power competition exacerbates and ideological battle looms, Taiwan has made its choice clear: We stand with the forces of freedom and democracy.

"When we stand together, we stand stronger. Together we rise and together we resolve to be a force for good in the world," Wu said.

(By Lin Hung-han, Matt Yu and Evelyn Kao)