By Tenzin Dharpo
Taiwanese President Tsai- Ingwen. Photo_file
DHARAMSHALA, June 29: With Beijing’s increasingly aggressive military drills and maneuvers to encircle the island nation ramped up over the weeks, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the international community to counter China, calling her neighbour’s antics a global threat to democracy.
Ing-wen’s call to other nations is prompted by what she called “immense pressure” from China and to offset Beijing’s “hegemonic influence” in the long run.
In an interview with AFP on Monday, she said, “This is not just Taiwan’s challenge, it is a challenge for the region and the world as a whole, because today it’s Taiwan, but tomorrow it may be any other country that will have to face the expansion of China’s influence.”
“Their democracy, freedom, and freedom to do business will one day be affected by China. We need to work together to reaffirm our values of democracy and freedom in order to constrain China and also minimise the expansion of their hegemonic influence,” she further appealed.
The Taiwanese President’s appeal resonates with that of the Tibetan President’s warning to the international community where he likened Tibet to a “blue print” to China’s immediate and long term intentions. Dr. Lobsang Sangay said that nations must look at Tibet to understand China and how they proceed about their expansionist designs.
President Tsai who took office in 2016 has been vocal in asserting her country’s sovereignty, riling Beijing which claims the island nation to be a part of China. While Ing-wen has said that she is willing to talk with Chinese president Xi Jinping, the latter has insisted on pre-conditions to recognise Taiwan to be part of China to proceed resulting in a dead-lock.
China has made it clear that “reclaiming” Taiwan is a priority for them and that military pressure is an option for them. Meanwhile Taiwan has rallied to fortify its “self-defence” capabilities, importing arms and military technologies, chiefly from the United States. The US which does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan approved a preliminary licence for sensitive submarine technology while its Congress recently passed Bills that called for higher level official visits, as well as advocating greater US-Taiwan military exchanges.