Go TO Content

President Tsai delivers address at Hudson Institute year-end celebration (excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2020-12-10

History has a tendency of repeating itself. It is becoming increasingly clear that today, the world is once again being faced with fundamental questions of freedom or authoritarianism. As we look at Hong Kong, we see what was one of Asia's most free and prosperous cities descend into fear, anxiety, and instability.

In the South China Sea, what was once an unfettered region critical to international maritime traffic has become highly militarized. In places such as Xinjiang, growing religious oppression has led to serious international concern. All of this is leading further and further away from the 21st century so many of us had once envisioned.

We are also watching with alarm the increasing provocation from across the Taiwan Strait. PLA fighter jets and naval ships now cross the median line of the strait with regularity, raising the risk of accidents and miscalculations.

The PRC has worked to shut the 23 million people of Taiwan out of international organizations, despite our legitimate requests to be included on matters of health, aviation safety, international police cooperation, climate change, and more. They are also engaged in disinformation and malign influence campaigns that are designed to cast doubt on our institutions and test weaknesses in our democracy.

I want to be clear: We do not desire this sort of cross-strait relationship. What we seek is constructive cross-strait dialogue, in order to peacefully address differences of opinion and perspective without the need for preconditions.

We see a necessity for both sides to find a way to co-exist peacefully, based on mutual respect, goodwill, and understanding. This has been the basis of my cross-strait policy, as it is a position that best serves the interests of peace and stability in the region.

While the 23 million people of Taiwan do not want to live in a state of permanent antagonism, we are also determined to safeguard our freedoms and way of life. We have made it a priority to strengthen our most valuable asset, that is democracy. We have implemented responsible ways to tackle disinformation through openness and transparency.

New legislation was passed to respond to PRC malign influence in our politics. Together with the U.S. and other international partners, we are also engaged on issues ranging from media literacy to accountable governance. These actions signal to all across the region about the resiliency of our democratic processes.