Tsai pledges to promote 'Taiwanese values' during visit to allies
Taipei, July 11 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) pledged Thursday to share the Taiwanese values of freedom, democracy and sustainability with the world as she embarked on a 12-day state visit to four Caribbean diplomatic allies, during which she will also make a stopover in two U.S. cities.
"This visit is termed the 'Tour for Freedom, Democracy and Sustainability' because freedom, democracy and sustainability are the Taiwanese values we want to share with all our good friends in the world," Tsai said in a short speech prior to her departure from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Tsai said that during the trip -- which will take her to Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia, as well as the U.S cities of New York and Denver -- she will endeavor to deliver three messages from Taiwan to the world.
Firstly, as an oceanic country and a member of the global community, Taiwan shares the values of freedom and openness, Tsai said, adding that she plans to seek greater international space and more business opportunities for her country during the trip.
"We will by no means restrict ourselves to a small corner of the Taiwan Strait," she said.
The second message, Tsai continued, is that Taiwan will staunchly safeguard democratic institutions because the country's hard-earned democracy is now facing threats and infiltration by external forces.
As democratic countries around the world are also facing similar challenges, Taiwan "will cooperate with like-minded countries to ensure that our democratic institutions remain strong and solid," the president said.
Tsai said the last message is that her country will endeavor to promote international cooperation based on the principles of mutual assistance and reciprocity and with the goal of facilitating sustainable development, whether in the areas of agriculture, medical care, maritime security, clean energy or climate change.
"We will follow the United Nations' sustainable development goals and take advantage of the technological advances in order to make more contributions to our allies and the world," Tsai said.
The visit -- the seventh state visit Tsai has made since taking office in May 2016 -- has attracted great media attention.
It is mostly because the president's planned transit stop in New York is believed to carry symbolic significance, considering that the city is one of the most influential metropolises in the U.S. and a cultural, financial and media capital.
Some political analysts are also waiting to see if Tsai will be allowed to make new "diplomatic breakthroughs" during her stay in the U.S., which has maintained unofficial ties with Taiwan since it switched recognition to China in 1979.
So far, the Presidential Office has not revealed the details of Tsai's transit stops in New York and Denver, but local media have reported that the president will meet with U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and other pro-Taiwan congresspeople during her stopovers.
There has also been speculation that Tsai will make a public speech at Columbia University in New York, but the Presidential Office on Wednesday called the reports inaccurate.
"We are still making detailed arrangements for (Tsai's) state visit and stopovers. Based on mutual trust between Taiwan and the U.S., we will make necessary announcements at an opportune time," Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said Wednesday.
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