Taipei, Aug. 21 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday that the way China has been pressuring the allies of the Republic of China (Taiwan) into switching diplomatic allegiance to Beijing is tantamount to "infringement on our sovereignty."
At a press conference, President Tsai called for national unity to "defend the status quo of the ROC (Taiwan)," after her administration announced a decision to sever diplomatic relations with El Salvador because the Central American country was preparing to switch recognition to China.
The loss of Taiwan's fifth ally since Tsai took office, and the third in the past four months, came one day after she returned from a trip to Paraguay and Belize, during which she made two transit stops in the United States that were seen as a breakthrough in U.S.-Taiwan ties.
At Tuesday's press conference, Tsai said that as a member of the international community, Taiwan is entitled to a place in the world, and its 23 million people have the same rights to freedom and equality as the peoples of other nations.
Taiwan is entitled to its independent sovereignty and dignity, Tsai added. "These are universal principles that we believe in."
Tsai said China's efforts to lure diplomatic allies away from Taiwan were part of a broader strategy to suppress Taiwan through tactics such as intimidation and military coercion, an approach that has not changed over the years and has now become "all pervasive."
"I want to let everyone know that due to its actions, China has crossed the line with all the major political parties in Taiwan," Tsai said.
She urged the people of Taiwan to unite against "the encroachment on the sovereignty of the nation."
"Undermining the ROC's diplomatic relations with its allies amounts to challenging the bottom line," Tsai said.
She said that even though people in Taiwan hold differing views on cross-Taiwan Strait relations, they share common ground on the issue of safeguarding the status quo of the ROC (Taiwan).
Only by showing unity can Taiwan send a message to China that it should not misgauge the bottom line and should not think it can disrupt Taiwan society by inciting divisions among politicians or political parties, Tsai said.
The president said that since she took office in May 2016, the Taiwanese people have shown the world that they will not be thwarted in defending their freedom and democracy from any threat, nor will they abandon their commitment to contributing to the international community.
She also called on Taiwan's diplomatic allies to value their longstanding friendship with Taiwan and its contribution to their development.