President Tsai Ing-wen met with Dr. Richard Haass, president of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, on the morning of January 21.
President Tsai mentioned that Dr. Haass, along with many other experts, has pointed out that the international order and democratic values that help maintain global peace are now being challenged. Taiwan is facing these challenges with courage; committed to democratic values; and dedicated to safeguarding regional peace, stability, prosperity, and development to contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Commenting on cross-strait relations, the president noted that Taiwan has never been opposed to cross-strait interaction and exchanges. However, China has not abandoned the threat of military force against Taiwan, and intends to force "one country, two systems" on Taiwan. She once again emphasized that Taiwan absolutely will not accept "one country, two systems," and that this is the "Taiwan consensus."
The president also called on the international community to take the changes now happening in our region seriously, and address them directly. Taiwan is on the front line defending democracy and freedom, because the Taiwanese in this generation have a historical mission: to protect Taiwan's democracy against threats. She stated that she believes that when facing bullies, weakness only leads to greater aggression.
President Tsai pointed out that people around the world who believe in democratic values, including many in Hong Kong and China, have expectations for Taiwan, and that more and more of our international friends are speaking up for Taiwan. Because, she said, everyone knows that defending Taiwan--a beacon of democracy--is the only hope for democracy and freedom in Asia.
The president thanked the international community for supporting democratic Taiwan. She said this included the Spokesman for the US National Security Council, Garrett Marquis, who voiced his support. The American Institute in Taiwan, along with 44 international senior experts and scholars, also publicly affirmed Taiwan's democratic achievements. These gestures show that the international community recognizes Taiwan's commitment to defending freedom and democracy.
Finally, President Tsai stated that Taiwan will continue to persevere. She also hopes that Dr. Haass, and all of our like-minded friends around the world, will work together to ensure our shared democratic values.