TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Friday (April 19) during a radio interview that the 2020 presidential election will be crucial for Taiwan’s future as it will determine whether the island nation can maintain its independence or lean toward annexation by Beijing.
Tsai announced her intention to run for re-election in March, but she has now been challenged by former Premier William Lai (賴清德) in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) primary. The schedule of the primary has been delayed until late May for a prolonged coordination period.
When giving an interview to a local radio, Green Peace Broadcasting Station, on Friday morning, Tsai said the 2020 election is closely watched by other countries. She did not explicitly suggest intervention of the Chinese Communist Party in the election, but said Beijing has much “calculation” and “expectation” with regard to the election next year.
“The 2020 presidential election is very crucial,” said Tsai. “For Taiwanese people, the year of 2020 is an important watershed as to wether Taiwan will maintain its sovereignty and independence, or be forced into the process of being annexed.”
Asked by host Chung Nien-huang (鍾年晃) about what she considers are the credentials for a Taiwan president in 2020, Tsai responded immediately that the person should have the qualities she is equipped with, or the person should be herself.
In the face of growing intimidation, both diplomatically and militarily, from the Chinese government, Tsai said what she has been doing as a Taiwan president on a daily basis is to defend the sovereignty of the nation and ensure the safety of its people.
“National defense is the biggest insurance for peace,” said Tsai, dismissing the claim made by Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou (郭台銘), who announced his entering the presidential race earlier this week, that national security should rely on peace.
“If we have solid military capability to defend ourselves, our opponent will be forced to take more peaceful approaches to deal with cross-strait affairs,” added Tsai.
In addition, Tsai said diplomatic skills and capacity are necessary for a Taiwan president. Support from the international community and like-minded countries will be imperative for Taiwan to deal with cross-strait relations after 2020, said Tsai.