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President Tsai reaffirms Taiwan's sovereignty after Panama's defection

ROC Central News Agency

2017/06/13 18:44:41

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday that Taiwan will not give in to threats from China, after Panama announced earlier in the day that it was switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

At a press conference after the announcement, Tsai said Taiwan's sovereignty is an indisputable fact and cannot be switched.

Despite Beijing's constant suppression of Taiwan's space in the international community, the Republic of China (Taiwan) remains a sovereign nation and that is a fact Beijing cannot deny, Tsai said.

Furthermore, the fact of the ROC's existence and its value and status in the international community cannot be changed, she said.

"Our approach of not competing with Beijing in checkbook diplomacy will not change," Tsai said.

On behalf of Taiwan's 23 million people, she said, "we will not compromise under its threat."

At present, "our only choice is to work together against the threat," and this is also the most powerful way to highlight Taiwan's national sovereignty, Tsai said.

She also said that Taiwan's existence and its international space are vital to regional peace and stability.

"We would not be happy to see cross-Taiwan Strait relations go from peaceful to confrontational due to Beijing's mistaken thinking and provocations," Tsai said.

Her message to Beijing, she said, is that Taiwan has fulfilled its responsibility to maintain cross-strait peace and stability but Beijing's actions have impacted the stable cross-strait status quo, which is unacceptable to the Taiwanese people.

The president said national security authorities had been keeping abreast of the situation as it developed and had done their best but the final decision was regrettable.

The government will now work to ensure that national economic plans will not be affected and will continue to protect the rights of Taiwanese businessmen and other nationals in the Central American country, she said.

Tsai called the news conference after Presidential Office Secretary General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave separate responses earlier in the day to the Panama's decision.

(By Lu Hsin-hui, Claudia Liu and Evelyn Kao)

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