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President Tsai convenes high-level national security meeting ahead of the Lunar New Year (excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2021-02-09

On the morning of February 9, President Tsai Ing-wen delivered remarks in the Entrance Hall of the Presidential Office Building on Taiwan's response to the global pandemic and other regional and international issues covered in a high-level national security meeting convened earlier that morning.

A translation of the president's remarks is as follows:

Let me now share the four major conclusions reached at today's meeting.

First, Taiwan-US relations remain stable, and have not been affected by the transition to a new administration in the US.

The Taiwan-US relationship has continued to strengthen since President Biden took office. You all know from news reports that our Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) was invited to President Biden's inauguration, and that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin both pledged during their Senate confirmation hearings to uphold the US commitment to Taiwan's defense. This all shows that the transition of power in the US will not affect our bilateral cooperation.

We are also aware that US military aircraft and vessels have conducted a number of freedom of navigation operations recently, which indicates a very clear US stance toward any challenge to the peaceful status quo in the Indo-Pacific region.

I have asked our national security team to continue to maintain close and open communication with the new US administration, Congress, and both major parties, as well as with institutions and individuals across various sectors. In a changing situation, we need to be able to seize the initiative and respond quickly and effectively to new developments while also enhancing our bilateral cooperation across the board. Dialogue on economic and trade strategy is particularly important.

Second, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is no longer just a matter of cross-strait relations; it has been elevated to a key regional and global interest. We remain in close contact with relevant countries on this issue, and I ask my fellow citizens to be confident in Taiwan's security.

Over the past year, military aircraft and vessels from across the strait have been increasingly active in the waters and airspace around Taiwan, and have even intruded into our Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). These actions undermine the peaceful and stable status quo in the Indo-Pacific region.

Faced with an evolving regional situation, we will continue to enhance our self-defense capabilities in order to respond to new military challenges.

At the same time, we will spare no effort in using dialogue and cooperation with all countries to uphold the regional status quo of peace and prosperity.

I want to reaffirm Taiwan's consistent position on cross-strait relations: we neither bow to pressure nor act rashly when we have support. We look forward to people from both sides of the strait resuming normal, orderly exchanges once the pandemic has been effectively contained.

As long as the Beijing authorities sincerely want to resolve differences, we are willing to facilitate meaningful dialogue based on the principles of parity and dignity.

But I also want to remind everyone that Taiwan is not solely responsible for cross-strait peace. Indeed, China holds the key. History has shown that China's diplomatic offensives and military coercion against Taiwan do nothing to promote positive cross-strait relations.

As we celebrate this traditional holiday shared among ethnic Chinese communities worldwide, we wish people on the other side of the strait the best of health for the New Year, and hope that in the future we can promote cross-strait peace and stability together.