On the evening of September 16, President Tsai Ing-wen issued a major statement on the termination of diplomatic relations with Solomon Islands. A translation of the president's remarks follows:
My fellow citizens: just now, we terminated the Republic of China's diplomatic relations with Solomon Islands. We sincerely regret and strongly condemn their government's decision to establish diplomatic relations with China.
Over the past few years, China has continually used financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan's international space. We have responded to these actions with the sternest condemnation as not only a threat to Taiwan, but also a brazen challenge and detriment to the international order.
For years, Taiwan's attitude towards its diplomatic allies has been one of sincere friendship. We spare no effort and treat our allies with sincerity. However, in the face of China's interference and suppression, we will not stand to be threatened, nor will we be subjected to ceaseless demands.
I want to emphasize that Taiwan will not engage in dollar diplomacy with China in order to satisfy unreasonable demands. This is not how Taiwan approaches its diplomacy, not to mention the fact that China's promises of financial assistance often come up empty. Taiwan's contributions to Solomon Islands, particularly in medicine, agriculture, education, and culture, cannot be measured in dollars.
Beginning tomorrow, we will close our embassy in Solomon Islands and recall all technical and medical mission personnel stationed there. I want to thank them for fighting bravely to the last for our diplomatic relationship. It is indeed regrettable that their unfinished cooperative projects must come to an end, and it is a loss for Solomon Islands people. However, this is the choice that Solomon Islands' government has made, leaving us with no other option but to respond in this way.
Although we have terminated diplomatic ties, I want to extend my gratitude to the people of Solomon Islands for their support for Taiwan, and to our allies in the international community who sought to help mediate this issue. Changes in the diplomatic arena are indeed challenging, but Taiwan still has many friends around the world willing to stand with us, and we are not alone.
People around the world know that by luring away our diplomatic allies and stepping up pressure on us across the board over the past few years, China has sought to damage the morale of the Taiwanese people and force Taiwan to accept "one country, two systems."
I am confident that the 23 million people of Taiwan have this to say in response: not a chance.
Though Taiwan's political parties may hold different views regarding cross-strait relations, we share an overwhelming consensus in rejecting "one country, two systems."
Though China may be able to temporarily stir up opinions by poaching our diplomatic allies, we believe that these actions are ultimately only detrimental to the development of cross-strait relations.
China's actions, whether as a retaliation to our procurement of F-16 fighter jets or as an attempt to divert attention from Hong Kong's anti-extradition bill protests, will not impact the Taiwanese people's convictions or solidarity.
Through our actions, Taiwan will show the world that we will not give up on strengthening our national defense capabilities, nor will we abandon our commitment to democracy or our support for Hong Kong.
We will continue to actively engage with the world; the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue to make friends across the globe, whether diplomatic allies or not, just like any other sovereign nation.
My fellow citizens, pressure from China will only continue to grow in the coming months. But the Taiwanese people will not yield, nor will China's attempts to affect Taiwan's politics or elections succeed.
In the face of China's bullying, Taiwan must remain courageous and united. We must continue to engage with the world. There is no recourse, and we can neither shrink nor compromise. We must face the world with solidarity and walk our own path.