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President Tsai holds reception in Belize for traveling press corps(excerpt: cross-strait relations)

  • Date:2018-08-18

President Tsai Ing-wen held a reception in Belize for the press corps traveling with her delegation on state visits to Paraguay and Belize on the afternoon of Friday, August 17 local time (morning of August 18 Taipei time). At the gathering, she explained the trip's achievements and responded to questions from reporters. 

Commenting on the recent incident involving the 85°C cafe, President Tsai stated that the shop just happened to be near her hotel. Taiwanese coffee shops can operate in the United States, and achieving that kind of scale and success is certainly commendable. For people living and working far from home, having a place like 85°C cafe that eases their homesickness is valuable. It's quite regrettable that buying one cup of coffee triggered so much political pressure, which made the coffee lose some of its flavor, she said. When a Taiwanese firm is forced to make a political declaration, it puts them in a dilemma. Developments like that aren't healthy, she said, and unhelpful to cross-strait relations.

President Tsai said that after living through periods of colonial rule and authoritarian rule, Taiwanese are most proud of the democracy and freedom that have gradually taken root in our country. That historical process shows that Taiwanese are resilient. And because they have that kind of resilience, she said, the people of Taiwan will not bow to that kind of pressure. While the 85°C cafe incident is regrettable, we cannot react by pointing fingers of blame. What we need to do is unite to uphold Taiwan's democracy and freedom. That's the approach we should take.

After completing her remarks, President Tsai responded to reporters' questions about the 85°C cafe incident, Taiwan's minimum wage, and other topics. She stated that we cannot allow China's suppression to create internal divisions and recrimination in Taiwan. That's the worst possible result. When faced with suppression, we need to be more united and uphold our commitment to democracy and freedom. But the root of the problem is mainland China. At this stage, China hopes to become a respected major power, and a positive force that plays a leading role in regional development. But if that's what China wants, it will have to build trust by creating more positive interactions within the region and across the Taiwan Strait. This kind of suppression and pettiness is not what you would expect from a responsible nation within the region.

President Tsai further stated that the suppression we are now seeing may just be a standard reaction from a bureaucratic system, or a means to resolve internal problems. She called on China to view things from the elevated perspective of a leader, and said she sincerely hopes China will eventually become a major power that deserves respect, and a positive force in the region. She believes that China's leaders aspire to do that, and if so, then their current suppression tactics run counter to the regional role they want to play. "I believe their leadership understands that, and shares that point of view," she said.

This is not the first time mainland China has done these things, and it won't be the last, said the president. But if they don't correctly understand the effects of what they do, or how others view their behavior, then the president thinks this won't be the last time, and we will see these problems manifest in other forms.

What's most important, said President Tsai, is how we ourselves view the problem. When a Taiwanese company is suppressed, we must support and encourage that company, and we hope that what they do under momentary pressure will not become a permanent state of affairs. Even more, we hope that company will be a more committed supporter of Taiwan's democracy and freedom.

【Source: Office of the President】