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Hong Kong proves democracy, authoritarianism cannot coexist: Tsai

2019/08/20 16:15:07

President Tsai Ing-wen

Taipei, Aug. 20 (CNA) The developments in Hong Kong in recent months have shown that democracy and authoritarianism cannot exist side by side, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday.

That is why Taiwan rejects the "one country, two systems" model proposed by Beijing as a solution to cross-Taiwan Strait issues, Tsai said during the 2019 Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue in Taipei.

"Yet, China refuses to renounce the use of force against Taiwan, and continues to seek to impose its 'one country, two systems' model on us," she said. "But I want to be very clear: Hong Kong's example has proven once and for all that democracy and authoritarianism cannot coexist."

The "one country, two systems" system of government, introduced in the 1980s by then-Chinese Communist leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), has been in effect in Hong Kong since it was handed back to China by the United Kingdom in 1997.

In recent months, however, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers have been protesting against what they see as an erosion of the autonomy promised under the "one country, two systems" model.

The protests were sparked by a bill that would have allowed the extradition of fugitives and crime suspects to China. While the bill has since been shelved, the demonstrations have morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms in Hong Kong.

At Tuesday's forum, Tsai said Taiwan is determined to defend itself against threats by strengthening its defensive capabilities.

"We have already begun to build our own aircraft and submarines," she said. "In fact, our first self-manufactured advanced training aircraft will be completed in late September this year."

Tsai expressed appreciation for the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to put forward four deals for arms sales to Taiwan.

She said Taiwan's commitment to security is also about "defending the shared values that have underpinned the rule-based international order and led to sustainable prosperity for all."

The forum, which focused on issues related to regional maritime expansionism, was held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Prospect Foundation.

Australia's former Minister of Defense Christopher Pyne was the keynote speaker, while Wallace Gregson, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, also attended the forum.

Other attendees included maritime and defense specialists and scholars from the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and India.

(By Emerson Lim)
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