On US stopover, Taiwan leader says Hong Kong an omen

Taiwan leader says Hong Kong crackdown on democracy an omen

Taiwan leader says Hong Kong crackdown on democracy an omen

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) slammed China for seeking to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait during a video conference in which she participated in Honolulu Wednesday.

The Taiwanese President said that the USA weapons would "greatly enhance our land and air capabilities, strengthen military morale and show to the world the United States commitment to Taiwan's defence".

"To be clear, we seek peace, not hostility".

Tsai thanked the USA for its support in helping Taiwan maintain its diplomatic alliances and said that "we remain committed to working with like-minded countries to protect the core values of good governance, accountability and sustainable development in the Pacific".

The president told a packed auditorium in Honolulu that her government would never sign on to Xi Jinping's directive as the Chinese leader sought to replicate a system now in place in Hong Kong and Macau - and apply it to the self-governing Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade province. "The US' commitment to Taiwan is stronger than ever".

She said big-ticket defense items would be managed though a special budget and Taiwan's regular defense budget would "increase based on challenges coming across the strait".

She said the process of United States arms sales to Taiwan had become less politicized, adding: "We are able to have frank discussions with the U.S. on the right equipment for Taiwan's defense and the USA is responding positively to our request".

Beijing considers self-governing Taiwan part of China, to be annexed by force if necessary.

Taiwan's presidents have made stopovers in the USA, but China has asked the USA not to allow them as they violate its One China Principle. "We are a democracy and the only democratic Chinese-speaking country in the world".

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"'One country, two systems' will become just one country".

Tsai warned that Taiwanese people and the global community should heed lessons from what has happened in Hong Kong, where Beijing has tightened its grip to curtail freedoms and muzzle dissent, including banning a secessionist party and disqualifying popularly elected opposition lawmakers.

"Taiwan is a force for good in the region. So I think the experience of Hong Kong teaches the Taiwanese a lot".

The agency Tsai visited, Hi-EMA, is affiliated with the State of Hawaii, Department of Defense, which also includes the National Guard and Office of Homeland Security.

In Beijing, defense ministry spokesman Wu Qian reiterated Thursday that China was "firmly opposed" to USA arms sales to Taiwan and military exchanges between the sides.

Tsai's unofficial Hawaii visit comes at the end of a trip to three of Taiwan's Pacific Island allies.

"It reflects that democracy is inherently incompatible with the Chinese regime, especially the CCP system", she said, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

Some US lawmakers at the event voiced support for Taiwan.

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