Helen Davidson and Lily Kuo |
Taiwan will not accept attempts by China to “downgrade” its status, its president has said in an inauguration speech that celebrated the island’s successful fight against the coronavirus and pledged to stand up to pressure from Beijing.
Voters handed Dr Tsai Ing-wen a second term with a landslide win in January, a vocal rebuke of Beijing’s ongoing campaign to isolate the island.
Tsai, who was sworn in on Wednesday, said both sides must find a way to coexist and called for stabilising relations with China, which claims Taiwan as its own and vows it will be brought under control by force if necessary.
“We have resisted the pressure of aggression and annexation, we have made the transition from authoritarianism to democracy,” Tsai said.
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“Although we were once isolated in the world, we have always persisted in values of democracy and freedom no matter the challenges ahead of us.”
“We will not accept the Beijing authorities’ use of ‘one country, two systems’ to downgrade Taiwan and undermine the cross-strait status quo,” she said, referring to the framework under which the troubled region of Hong Kong is governed by Beijing.