Tsai Ing-wen calls for 'like-minded allies' like US to resist threat from 'authoritarian forces'

She said they have to either defend democracy, or 'surrender to the threat of authoritarianism'.

Julia Yeo | December 09, 2020, 06:22 PM

Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen called for closer ties with its "like-minded allies" at the opening of the 2020 Taiwan-US-Japan Trilateral Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

Such partners include the United States, Japan and Czech Republic, she said.

Tsai calls for 'like-minded allies' to work together to tackle threats posed by 'authoritarian forces'

"Only through engagement and by working together can we tackle the threats and challenges that beset our region and the world," Tsai said in her opening address.

Image via Office of the President of the Republic of China

Tsai spoke about the recent sentencing of three activists in Hong Kong, who were arrested for unlawful assembly during the 2019 Hong Kong Protests:

"The recent imprisonment of three young Hong Kong democracy activists serves as a stern reminder that we are once again presented with a fundamental decision to make, that is: we either defend democracy, or we surrender to the threat of authoritarianism," Tsai said.

She mentioned that Taiwan has continued to face threats daily, due to the militarisation of the South China Sea, and "authoritarian forces" that "consistently attempt to violate the existing rules-based order".

Tsai also reiterated Taiwan's support for the  international community to fight the Covid-19 outbreak.

China riled by U.S.-Taiwan arms sales

The U.S. has sold US$5 billion (S$6.68 billion) worth of arms sales to Taiwan this year, according to Reuters, including a US$280 million (S$374 million) sale announced in Congress on Monday, Dec. 7.

China has expressed anger towards the sales.

China will “take resolute and forceful countermeasures and resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing, reported AP News.

China's vice foreign minister Zheng Zeguang was also quoted telling the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Forden that the U.S. had "seriously violated the basic norms of international relations, seriously interfered in China’s domestic politics, seriously damaged China-U.S. relations, are arrogant, unreasonable and vile."

On Dec. 8, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the latest sale showed that the U.S. commitment to bolstering the island’s defence capabilities has remained unchanged, reported Reuters.

"Taiwan and the United States will continue to consolidate their security partnership to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait," the ministry said.

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