Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen says unrest shows China's 'failure' in Hong Kong

Tsai on June 25 called on the international community to 'constrain' China by standing up for freedoms casting her

Tsai on June 25 called on the international community to 'constrain' China by standing up for freedoms casting her

President Tsai Ing-wen vowed on Thursday to defend Taiwan's sovereignty, saying her government would defend freedom and democracy as Beijing ramps up pressure on the self-ruled island it considers a wayward province.

New Power Party (NPP) legislative caucus whip Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that Tsai's address contained two major points: Letting Beijing and the worldwide community know Taiwan's rejection of "one country, two systems" and highlighting the words "Republic of China (Taiwan)" - a consensus beyond party lines.

Taiwan has been one of the strongest sources of overseas support for the Hong Kong protesters, amid growing worldwide condemnation of aggressive tactics used by city leader Carrie Lam's Beijing-backed government. In the national day address, President Tsai said China was threatening the island "nonstop" and posing a major challenge to regional peace and stability.

Referring to Hong Kong, Tsai said, "the failure of "one country, two systems" had taken Hong Kong to "the brink of disorder". But for President Tsai, "if we were to accept 'one country, two systems, ' there would no longer be room for the Republic of China's existence".

Lee said the rejection of "one country, two systems" and upholding Taiwan sovereignty is the consensus of Taiwan's 23 million people and not provocation.

October 10 marks the 1911 founding of the Republic of China, which once ruled on the mainland but was forced to retreat to Taiwan in 1949 after Mao Zedong's Communists took power over Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists.

Cold War hostility between the island and the mainland had eased over the past decade or so as both sides focused more on expanding business ties, but relations have cooled considerably since Tsai took office in 2016.

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Tsai's comments come amid a renewed push by China to internationally isolate the self-governing island democracy that it claims as its own territory by poaching its few remaining diplomatic allies.

Taiwan has lost seven diplomatic allies over the past three years, including Kiribati and Solomon islands in September ahead of China's National Day on October 1.

Since 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek fled the mainland, Taiwan has been the seat of the government of the Republic of China, now recognised by 15 countries in the world.

Pan Chao-min, a professor at Tunghai University's Graduate Institute of Political Science in Taiwan, said Tsai's linking of the unrest in Hong Kong with Taiwan was part of a campaign strategy to give the impression she is the right person to protect Taiwan from Chinese oppression.

"The determination of the Taiwanese people to embrace the world has never wavered", she said, adding that Taiwan must work with "like-minded countries" to ensure peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan unveiled its largest defense spending increase in more than a decade in August, aiming to purchase more advanced weapons from overseas. Her chief election opponent espouses friendlier relations with China.

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