Marshall Islands, March 26 (CNA) Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has underlined the importance of visiting the nation's overseas allies, even as Beijing uses every available opportunity to poach those same allies from Taipei.
Tsai, who is on the third and final leg of a visit to the three Pacific allies of Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands, was answering questions from Taiwanese reporters about the country's diplomatic situation.
Tsai was asked how Taiwan can prevent China from poaching its diplomatic allies, which it was noted has happened every time she has returned from an overseas trip.
Since taking office in May 2016, Tsai has made six overseas visits, including the current one to the Pacific region. In that time five allies have switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, leaving Taiwan with just 17 diplomatic allies.
The president of Taiwan cannot stop traveling overseas because Beijing is squeezing the nation's international space, Tsai said.
"Diplomatic work must still be done," she added, and so "Taiwan must continue to bravely step out into the world."
Tsai reiterated that her administration will safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty. "We will not allow anyone to harm our sovereignty and national dignity," she said at an informal meeting with reporters from Taiwan who are accompanying her on the March 21-28 Pacific visit.
Discussing the three allies, Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands, Tsai said that for them Taiwan is an important partner with the same belief in democracy.
In addition, Taiwan and these allies are all island nations that face the challenge of climate change, while the allies have much experiences in tackling global warming they can share with Taiwan, Tsai said.
Tsai will leave the Marshall Islands on Wednesday and fly to Hawaii for a stopover before returning to Taiwan on Thursday.