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Taiwan vice president underscores China threat to Harvard students

Lai Ching-te's speech spotlights Taiwan’s COVID response success, China’s relentless coercion

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Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te addresses Harvard students. (Presidential Office photo)

Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te addresses Harvard students. (Presidential Office photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) cautioned against China’s growing menace while highlighting Taiwan's stellar COVID-19 response, in a pre-recorded speech on Saturday (Oct. 2) to Taiwanese students at Harvard University.

Lai, who has a master’s degree from the Harvard School of Publish Health, devoted a significant part of the 25-minute address to telling the story of a democratic Taiwan and how it has emerged as a prominent voice in global public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The health crisis has brought Taiwan closer to the international community, said Lai, with an increasing number of countries wanting to close the “geographical gaps,” since Taiwan is barred from the WHO system. Over 1,000 legislators across more than 50 countries have publicly advocated for Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.

Despite a boost in its national strength, Taiwan is confronted with multiple challenges, Lai stressed. The intensified military pressure on Taiwan has catapulted stability in the Taiwan Strait onto the world's radar, resulting in several joint statements and alliances such as AUKUS, most of them spearheaded by the U.S., he said.

China has sent nearly 100 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone in multiple sorties since its National Day on Friday (Oct. 1) and ratcheted up its muscle-flexing. The incursions have triggered alarm and caused concern in the U.S.

Other challenges ahead include the need to build a sound entrepreneurial environment to woo talent and carve out a viable emission reduction plan to counteract climate change. Lai wrapped up the talk by inviting Harvard students to come to Taiwan and contribute to making it a greater country.

The speech comes with English subtitles: