Taiwan facing unprecedented challenges from China: official

04/21/2019 06:19 PM

Taipei, April 21 (CNA) Taiwan's democracy is facing unprecedented challenges from China, Taiwan's Minister without Portfolio responsible for digital technology Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said during a trip in the United States, describing the situation as "precarious."

Tang sounded the alarm in a speech Saturday at the 31st annual convention meeting of the North America Taiwanese Women's Association (NATWA) in Detroit.

According to a summary of the speech posted on her Facebook page, Tang said Taiwan has been an important member of the global democratic camp over the past few decades and has never faced such stiff challenges in trying to maintain its status quo of freedom and democracy.

Tang said mounting pressure from Beijing against Taiwan, particularly increasing military threats, reflects Beijing's attempts to break the longstanding peaceful status quo across the Taiwan Strait, reiterating an argument made frequently recently by Taiwan's government.

Fortunately, like-minded countries and other countries in the region have displayed unprecedented concern and support for Taiwan, she said.

Tang noted, for example, that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the U.S. is taking various forms of action to prevent China from diplomatically isolating Taiwan.

Adm. Philip Davidson, the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, has said the U.S. remains committed to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and that China's "one country, two systems" formula for unification with Taiwan does not reflect the wishes of the two sides, Tang said.

Tang added that when she met with Japanese officials during her visit to Tokyo last month, they told her they will fully support Taiwan's bid to participate in the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Taking the opportunity, Tang also invited people to participate in an online event dubbed AIT@40 Digital Dialogues at https://talkto.ait.org.tw/ which was launched by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) to mark the 40th anniversary of the TRA.

The platform uses technology to promote diplomacy with the U.S. by allowing people who are concerned about Taiwan-U.S. relations to hold digital dialogues and set common cooperation goals, according to Tang.

Through the platform, some opinions such as "Taiwan can share its experience and expertise in many areas with the world" and "Taiwan is at the center of the U.S.'s Indo-Pacific strategy" have received a high approval rate, signaling that people in Taiwan and the U.S. share many common visions, Tang said.

Yet despite the support and assistance of so many world partners, the situation facing Taiwan could still be described as "precarious," Tang said.

Therefore, the government has begun to deal with issues such as the spread of misinformation that could destabilize society, meddling in Taiwan's elections through overseas funding, and the use of products presenting security threats to keep Taiwan from being taken over by the authoritarian regime in Beijing, she said.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)


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