Taiwan President dismisses lure of China business in exchange for democracy

We want a future for Taiwan that is based on our own values and interests, said President Tsai at AmCham's annual banquet

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AIT Director Brent Christensen, US Deputy Assistant Secretary David Meale
, President Tsai Ing-wen, and AmCham Chairman Leo Seewald at Hsieh Nien Fan

AIT Director Brent Christensen, US Deputy Assistant Secretary David Meale , President Tsai Ing-wen, and AmCham Chairman Leo Seewald at Hsieh Nien Fan (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) annual banquet on Wednesday (April 10), President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said her administration will not compromise Taiwan’s democratic values and way of life in exchange for doing business with an authoritarian government.

“We want investments that are sustainable, and we want to sell things in a way that doesn’t compromise our democracy or way of life,” said Tsai. She implicitly criticized opposition party figures, particularly those from the Kuomintang (KMT), for accepting economic incentives from China.

Tsai addressed concerns expressed by some AmCham members concerning pressure and security threats from Beijing. She reassured U.S. business representatives her administration will remain committed to maintaining the cross-strait status quo and being a responsible stakeholder.

We will also strengthen Taiwan’s ability to confront traditional and non-traditional security threats,” said Tsai. “Taiwan will be a proactive contributor to peace in the region.”

“We want a future where Taiwan is growing. But on our own terms, based on our own values and interests,” added Tsai, stressing that her administration aims to continue strengthening economic ties with the United States.

Tsai reiterated her administration’s position on pursuing a bilateral trade agreement with the United States, saying it would create “a potential model for the rest of the region.”

“The United States will continue to support the positive trajectory of U.S.-Taiwan economic relations,” commented United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Trade Policy and Negotiations David Meale, who is in Taiwan from April 9-15.

Meale, who worked for the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) from 2000-2004, said the U.S. remains “steadfast in all of its commitments to Taiwan.” Lauding Taiwan as an important trade and investment partner, as well as a democracy, Meale said Taiwan’s economic success is both in the interest of Taiwan and of the United States.

The banquet was also attended by AIT Director Brent Christensen and several top officials from the Taiwan government. A number of U.S. lawmakers also gave remarks through video clips, including Senator Marco Rubio, Pat Roberts, Cory Gardner, and Tim Kaine.