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US Vice President Pence lauds Taiwan's embrace of democracy

Pence lauds Taiwan for choosing path of democracy, condemns Beijing for luring away allies, chastises bullying of US companies

US Vice President Pence lauds Taiwan's embrace of democracy

(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - In a speech to the Hudson Institute on October 4, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence condemned China for luring away three Latin American allies of Taiwan, lauded Taiwan's democracy, and criticized Beijing's bullying of U.S. companies that list Taiwan separately from China.

In a speech replete with harsh criticism of China in which he leveled a wide range of charges against the Communist regime, from meddling in the U.S. midterm elections to its unfair trade practices, Pence also focused on Taiwan on two occasions.

His first reference to Taiwan occurred when focusing on China's expansion of its "debt diplomacy" strategy to Latin America. Pence implied that Beijing had lured away three allies of Taiwan in the region using the same tactic of offering large loans for assorted infrastructure projects, ultimately saddling them with massive and unrepayable debt. Pence condemned this use of dept diplomacy by the Chinese Communist Party with regards to Taiwan's former allies as "threatening the stability of the Taiwan Strait."

Though Pence still parroted the standard mantra that the U.S. continues to adhere to the "One China Policy," he made a point of lauding Taiwan for choosing the path of democracy, unlike Communist China, by saying" America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people." This particular statement in the speech struck a chord and was met with applause by the audience.

"And since last year alone, the Chinese Communist Party has convinced three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing. These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and the United States of America condemns these actions. And while our administration will continue to respect our One China Policy, as reflected in the three joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people."

Pence's second reference to Taiwan took place as he mentioned steps taken by Beijing to "exploit its economic leverage, and the allure of their large marketplace, to advance its influence over American businesses." Hearkening to what the Trump Administration earlier this year referred to as "Orwellian nonsense," Pence reminded attendees of the many threats made by Chinese authorities against U.S. companies that list Taiwan as a "distinct geographic entity" or somehow fail to fall in line with China's Tibet policy.

Pence cited Beijing's insistence that Delta Airlines apologize for not listing Taiwan as a "province of China" on its website as an example of bullying by the autocratic regime.

"Chinese authorities have also threatened U.S. companies that depict Taiwan as a distinct geographic entity, or that stray from Chinese policy on Tibet. Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a “province of China” on its website. And it pressured Marriott to fire a U.S. employee who merely liked a tweet about Tibet."

In response to Pence's speech, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), at 6 p.m. yesterday (Oct. 4), thanked Pence for his recognition of Taiwan's democracy and the challenges it faces in the international realm. MOFA also expressed gratitude for his recognition of the impact of China's actions on regional security.

We appreciate #US VP Pence's remarks on #Taiwan & recognition of its democracy & challenges to its international space. We also appreciate his attention to regional security & concern over #China's actions in the global community. Taiwan won't abandon the cross-strait status quo.

— 外交部 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan)

Later that evening, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Vice President Pence for his recognition of Taiwan's democracy, the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait, and said that she looked forward to continued cooperation with the U.S. on promoting "peace & stability in the region."

I thank @VP @mike_pence for recognizing #Taiwan’s democratization achievements & the importance of stability in the Taiwan Strait. Working together with the #US, we look forward to the continued promotion of peace & stability in the region.

— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) 2018年10月5日