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Lai underscores democracy, 'four-pillar plan' for defense, diplomacy

05/20/2024 02:26 PM
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President Lai Ching-te (second right), Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim (right) and former President Tsai Ing-wen (in gray jacket) wave to the public during the inauguration day celebrations in Taipei Monday. CNA photo May 20, 2024
President Lai Ching-te (second right), Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim (right) and former President Tsai Ing-wen (in gray jacket) wave to the public during the inauguration day celebrations in Taipei Monday. CNA photo May 20, 2024

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Taiwan will continue engaging with democratic countries around the world as it works to bolster its defense capabilities under a "four-pillar plan" for peace, President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said on Monday in his inaugural address.

Democracy, peace, and prosperity are values that underpin Taiwan and what bind the country tightly with the international community, Lai said, and he pledged that they would remain key elements in Taiwan's diplomacy.

"We will continue working with other democratic nations to form a democratic community, and share our experiences across a range of fields," he said.

"We will work together to combat disinformation, strengthen democratic resilience, address challenges, and allow Taiwan to become the MVP of the democratic world."

At the same time, however, the president said that China's military actions and "gray-zone" activities are seen by the international community as the greatest challenge to global peace and stability, adding that Taiwan is faced with many threats and attempts of infiltration from China.

"Taiwan is strategically positioned in the first island chain, and what affects us here affects global geopolitical development," Lai warned.

It is therefore pivotal, Lai said, to show resolve to defend the country against China's intimidation and infiltration and carry out the four-pillar plan.

Lai first unveiled the four-pillar plan to safeguard peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in July 2023.

The four pillars underscore the importance of defense capability, economic security, partnerships with other democracies, and stable and consistent cross-strait policy.

In his speech, Lai vowed to push forward "values-based diplomacy," thereby forming a "peaceful global community" with democracies around the world, which in turn would act as a deterrence against war and ensure peace.

Lai also highlighted the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act signed into law by United States President Joe Biden last month, which would provide the Indo-Pacific region with "additional security and assistance."

Under the act, US$8.1 billion will be allocated for Indo-Pacific security, including US$2 billion in foreign military financing for Taiwan and other key allies in the region and US$1.9 billion to replenish defense articles and defense services to Taiwan and regional partners.

(By Sean Lin)

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