Tsai urges China to face reality, respect Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen said Jan. 14 that China must face reality and respect the fact that Taiwan’s sovereignty is not in doubt or up for negotiation.
“We’re a successful democracy, we have a pretty decent economy, we deserve respect from China,” Tsai said, adding that the country is already independent and is called the ROC (Taiwan).
Tsai made the remarks during an exclusive interview with BBC News at the Presidential Office in Taipei City, the first media sit-down since winning a second term Jan. 11 in Taiwan’s presidential election.
According to Tsai, the government has shown restraint and remains committed to maintaining the cross-strait status quo—a gesture she considers “very friendly” to China.
“Because [for more than] three years we’re seeing China has been intensifying its threat ... they have their military vessels and aircraft cruising around the island,” Tsai said. “And also, the things happening in Hong Kong, people get a real sense that this threat is real and it’s getting more and more serious.”
Tsai said while she is open to dialogue, she is also aware that China may increase its pressure on Taiwan as a result of her election victory.
Response measures Tsai said, include strengthening Taiwan’s defense capabilities, diversifying its trade relations and encouraging local firms with manufacturing facilities in China to relocate operations home.
Tsai and running mate Lai Ching-te of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party garnered 8.17 million votes, or 57.13 percent in the presidential election. They defeated Han Kuo-yu and Chang San-cheng of the main opposition Kuomintang, 5.52 million, 38.61 percent; and James Soong and Sandra Yu of the People First Party, 608,590, 4.26 percent. (SFC-E)
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