Taiwan’s Representative to the EU and Belgium has voiced concern about the latest bloody unrest in the Middle East.
Speaking on Monday (9 October), Alexander Tah-ray Yui described Israel as “another democracy under threat”.
His comments came in the wake of the deadly outbreak of violence in the region at the weekend.
He told an audience of EU and Belgian policymakers he wanted to express “our condemnation in the strongest terms against the terrorist acts perpetrated by Hamas against the State of Israel and its people, and our deepest condolences to the Israeli families who have lost dear ones during these senseless attacks.”
He added: “It is during these moments when you realize who really are your friends and we stand beside Israel during these difficult times.”
He added: “Likewise, Taiwan has supported Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s invasion since the beginning and continues to do so, as it is also a democracy under threat. We do what we can in the relief of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.”
The official was speaking at an event in the Belgian capital to mark Taiwan’s National Day.
Taiwan celebrates October 10 as its national day, marking an uprising in 1911 that ended China’s last imperial dynasty and ushered in the Republic of China. The republican government fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s Communists, who set up the People’s Republic of China.
The Republic of China remains Taiwan’s formal name.
Tah-ray Yui told the packed audience at the city’s Autoworld car museum that, “112 years ago, on October 10, an uprising started a chain of events that led to the creation of the Republic of China, based on Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s ideals to give power to the people.
“112 years later, Dr. Sun’s dream is a reality in Taiwan, as we are ranked tenth in the world and the most democratic in Asia according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2022.”
He cautioned: “But this success story is not without its challenges. For decades, at least since I was born, we have consistently faced an existential threat from the People’s Republic of China, which falsely claims Taiwan is part of them.
“PRC’s dramatically increased tensions across the Taiwan Strait through military exercises since last year, along with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is a convergence of interests of the two regimes to threaten the rules-based international order.
“The escalation of tensions have not only highlighted Taiwan’s strategic importance in the Western Pacific island chain, but also its critical role in global trade, shipping and semiconductor manufacturing. But more importantly, with relevance to tonight’s celebration, Taiwan should matter to the international community because it is a democracy on the frontline of resistance to authoritarian expansion.”
The Representative went on: “We, the people of Taiwan, have demonstrated a high degree of resilience while facing this constant threat of aggression, as we are committed to upholding our national sovereignty, and defending our democratic way of life.
“With the help of friends, we are increasing our defense capabilities by building or improving our military hardware.
“We are also strengthening our civil defense preparedness to play a upporting role in times of need.”
He noted: “The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign, independent state, not subordinate to any other party, and we will do whatever it takes to defend our homeland and, I stress again, to preserve our democratic way of life.”
Among those present were MEPs and the Belgian Federal Parliament, as well as the Flemish, Brussels and Walloon Parliaments.
The Representative said: “Many of our friends who are present here tonight have been instrumental in making sure Taiwan is a clear and present topic of discussion, and included in important declarations and resolutions at different bilateral, multilateral meetings or fora.
“By raising concerns for the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and stressing it is in your interest that no one side should alter the status quo by force or coercion, is critical to the survival of Taiwan as a democracy.
“These open reminders and warnings will make the potential aggressor understand that its actions will not go unnoticed or even unpunished, that the world does care what happens to us, because it matters to you.
“And for that, I want to express our most sincere and heartfelt appreciation for your continued support.”
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