Taiwan's Tsai vows to defend island, lambasts China


Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday slammed China, saying its "diplomatic offensives and military coercion pose a serious challenge to regional stability and peace" and that Hong Kong was "on the verge of chaos" due to the failure of "one country, two systems" political framework of Beijing.

While the People's Republic has never controlled Taiwan, it claims the separately ruled island as part of its territory, a claim Ms Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party rejects.

"China is using its "one country, two systems" program to threaten us nonstop and has used all sorts of attacks and mounted virulent challenges to regional peace and stability", Tsai said in her speech at the presidential office building in the center of the capital, Taipei.

"The Republic of China has stood tall on Taiwan for over 70 years", she said.

It also asked why, if Tsai said "Republic of China (Taiwan)" is the overwhelming consensus of Taiwanese society, the team formed by young members of the DPP seeking legislative seats in the 2020 elections is dubbed "Team for Taiwan" rather than "Team for the ROC".

Taiwan's President said unrest in Hong Kong showed Beijing's "failure" in governing the city, and vowed to defend her democratically run island's sovereignty.

"At this time, when the eyes of the world are focused on Hong Kong and the brutal repression of Hong Kong, the stakes of fighting for democracy and fighting for freedom are that much more important, and that is what Taiwan rightly symbolizes for the world", Cruz said.

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Tsai's approval rating of 41.1% far exceeds that of her challenger, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the China-friendly Kuomintang opposition, according to the latest poll by the Apple Daily newspaper.

"China is encroaching on us through their sharp power, but as a crucial member of the region, we know that Taiwan must fulfill its responsibilities to the worldwide community", Tsai said.

In September Beijing persuaded two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, to switch allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

Other key figures attending the Yushan Forum who met with Tsai included former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and chief of the American Institute in Taiwan Brent Christensen.

Today, just 15 countries, small and mostly impoverished, recognize Taiwan. He also called the relationship between the two countries "incredibly important" in both economic and military aspects, saying he hopes to see Taiwan participate in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, the USA -led global naval exercise that is the largest of its kind in the world. But following U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's blistering broadside against China in October previous year, the Taiwanese leader has also ramped up the rhetoric.

Advocates of Taiwanese independence yesterday protested outside the Double Ten National Day ceremony on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei, calling for an end to the Republic of China (ROC) political structure and the establishment of diplomatic ties using the name Taiwan.