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Tsai urges European countries to support Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2018/09/04 14:01:08

Brussels, Sept. 3 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday urged European countries to support liberal democratic Taiwan at a time when a rising China is impacting the global landscape.

In a recorded speech at a Taiwan-sponsored seminar held at the European Parliament, Tsai said China is undermining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait and its rapid rise is also changing the global order that has sustained the region since the end of World War II.

At the opening to the seminar titled "China Factor: Resistance is Futile? -- Taiwan as a Case Study," Tsai said in a video that Taiwan is aware of the challenges posed by China, and noted that China's actions have "not served to drive Taiwan to Beijing, but encouraged us to look at where our friends and partners are, in countries that share our values and interests."

Since 2016, Tsai said, China has stepped up pressure on democratic Taiwan and tried hard to squeeze its economy and international space.

China has been working to destabilize Taiwan and undermine Taiwanese people's trust of the country's democratic institutions, Tsai said.

However, China's actions have only strengthened Taiwan's resolve that freedom and democracy not fear will continue to determine the future of the nation's 23 million people, she said.

"At this critical juncture in human history, Taiwan understands, better than any country in the world, how important it is that those values survive," Tsai said.

"As a small democracy trying to engage with the world's most powerful non-democratic country, Taiwan is resilient and determined to safeguard our precious democracy," Tsai added.

But, these challenges are not for Taiwan alone and the country is seeking support from friends and partners that share the same values, Tsai said.

"We do need your support. A liberal democratic order can only survive if like-minded countries, including our European partners, work together for the greater good," Tsai said.

"I'm calling on all like-minded countries to display the same spirit that led to the founding of a union across Europe in 1951: the clear-eyed sense that only by coming together, can we protect our values and our future," she said.

The speech lasted about four minutes and 30 seconds and Tsai received plenty of applause from the audience at the seminar, which was hosted by the European Federation of Taiwanese Associations and held on the last day of a three-day event.

In response to Tsai's speech, Ivan Stefanec, a Slovak member of the European Parliament, said the European Union and Taiwan have forged close ties and the EU should pay more attention to democratic development in Taiwan and Asia.

He called for more exchanges between Taiwan and the EU in economics, education and cultural areas in the near future.

Stefanec, who has visited Taiwan several times and is familiar with cross-strait relations, said China's rise is a very important issue not only in global economics but also in international politics so the EU needs to keep an eye on the latest developments.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Frances Huang)

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