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Taiwan concerned, but will not intervene in HK protests: president

ROC Central News Agency

2019/08/19 18:09:04

Taipei, Aug. 19 (CNA) Taiwan's government is concerned about the months-long pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong but will not intervene, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Monday.

During a meeting with former Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne at the Presidential Office, Tsai said the government is concerned and closely watching the protests in Hong Kong as tension continues to escalate over a now-suspended bill that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to China for trial.

She reiterated her urging that the Chinese government and Hong Kong's leaders should engage in dialogue with the protesters to resolve their differences.

However, she also stressed that the government will not intervene in the affairs of Hong Kong, despite accusations to the contrary by Beijing.

She called on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities not to dodge responsibility over the escalating tension and not to make wrong and regrettable decisions, referring to the possible use of force to suppress the protesters.

Chinese media and some pro-China politicians in Hong Kong, including former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa (董建華), have accused the United States and Taiwan of orchestrating the "well-organized" protests against the Hong Kong government, an accusation that has been denied by the two countries.

Since June, several rounds of protests have been held against the proposed bill, which has been suspended, but the demonstrations have since morphed into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms in the semi-autonomous territory.

Meanwhile, Tsai told Pyne, who is visiting mainly to attend a one-day Asia-Pacific Security Dialogue forum to be held Tuesday, that Taiwan and Australia are close partners in the region and that she would like to see the two countries continue to enhance exchanges in various fronts in years to come.

In related news, meanwhile, two Hong Kong groups posted an ad on the front page of a Taiwanese newspaper Monday thanking the country for its support for the territory's democracy activists.

The ad also thanked Tsai for her administration's willingness to offer helping hands to the Hong Kong people.

The ad, under a banner headline with the Chinese characters for "authoritarian versus freedom" was posted by two groups of Hong Kong protesters and appeared on the bottom half of the Chinese-language Liberty Times.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Joseph Yeh)

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