NEW DELHI/TAIPEI: In a strong message to Bejing, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on the National Day celebrations on Saturday said that Taiwan will play an active role in establishing new regional and international order in the face of Chinese aggression against democracies.
Incidentally, Taiwan received huge support from Indians across the country. Indians not only congratulated Taiwan’s President and officials on social media but installed 109th national day greetings to Taiwan in New Delhi, in defiance to the Chinese embassy’s warning.
The mission, in a dictatorial letter issued on October 7, had asked Indian media not to refer Taiwan as a “countrya or “nation” or “Republic of China” or refer Tsai as President of Taiwan.
The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on Friday reminded China that Indian media is a free and it reports as it sees fit.
President Tsai in her national day address on Saturday said: “For some time we have all been paying close attention to changes in regional security. From sovereignty disputes in the South and East China Seas and the China-India border conflict, to developments in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the hong Kong version of the National Security Law’ that has garnered international concern, it is clear that democracy, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific are currently facing serious challenges.”
Countries in this region, she said, have forged various alliances to ensure that their national security and democratic systems are not affected by external influences. This has already caused unprecedented changes to the region, she pointed out.
“We must turn this testing time into a historical opportunity. Our commitment to our sovereignty and democratic values will not change, but we will also maintain strategic flexibility and be responsive to changes. As circumstances change, advance preparation is the only way to exercise control over the future, and not just drift with the current or have others decide our fate,” Tsai said in a stern warning to China.
Taiwan, she said, “will play an active role in establishing new regional and international orders”. “We will forge alliances based on shared values and friendly ties throughout the international community, and continue to enhance partnerships with like-minded and friendly nations. We will also participate more actively in regional and international multilateral cooperation and dialogues.”
The most important values the Republic of China (Taiwan) stands for in the region are upholding peace and promoting economic development. “We want to be an advocate for the forces of good, and share our progressive and good faith values with the whole world,” she said.
Without mentioning Xi Jinping’s name, President Tsai said that “as countries in the region and around the world are now concerned about China’s expanding hegemony”, she hoped that the publicly stated video message of “the leader across the Strait” to the UN General Assembly that “China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence”, is the beginning of genuine change.
“At this critical time when the entire world has grave concerns about Indo-Pacific and cross-strait developments, if Beijing can heed Taiwan’s voice, change the way it handles cross-strait relations, and jointly facilitate cross-strait reconciliation and peaceful dialogue, I believe that regional tension can surely be resolved,” she said.
In addressing cross-strait relations, Taiwan, she said, will not act rashly, and will uphold its principles. Maintaining stability in cross-strait relations is in the best interests of both sides, she said. “We are committed to upholding cross-strait stability, but this is not something Taiwan can shoulder alone; it is the joint responsibility of both sides.”
At this stage, the most pressing cross-strait issue is to discuss how we can live in peace and coexist based on mutual respect, goodwill and understanding, the President said.
“As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue. This is what the people of Taiwan advocate, and it is a cross-party consensus,” she reiterated.