TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said Taiwan has broken China's "diplomatic blockade" because of congressional exchanges.
"Through parliamentary diplomacy, Taiwan has been deepening ties with democratic partners that share similar values. We have broken China's diplomatic blockade."
You has been outspoken about international human rights violations since being made legislative speaker in February 2020. He is once again the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) choice for speaker in the new legislature that is being formed following the recent presidential election.
Under You's leadership, party caucuses from both the ruling and opposition parties issued a joint statement condemning China for passing the draconian Hong Kong National Security Act following city-wide protests in 2019. Later that year, a cross-party association promoting the rights of people in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet was established.
The next year, a resolution was passed urging the government of Myanmar not to attack peaceful demonstrators. On Feb. 24, 2022, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a cross-party joint statement was issued urging Moscow to immediately cease its military aggression.
Early last year, he called for international attention to the dire situation of China's Mayflower Church refugees. They were stranded in Thailand after fleeing persecution in their homeland and received a less-than-warm welcome in South Korea.
With the assistance of a U.S.-based human rights organization ChinaAid, and the support of some American politicians, 63 Chinese Christian asylum seekers found a new home in Texas two months later.
During his term, You has also met with many international human rights organizations and in October of 2023 hosted the Oslo Freedom Forum. This is a global gathering of human rights and pro-democracy activists.
The DPP, however, lost its legislative majority in January's national elections. The ruling party, which earned 51 out of 113 seats, now has to compete with the Kuomintang (KMT), which won 52 seats. It needs to gain support from the eight-person Taiwan People's Party (TPP) caucus during the legislative leadership vote to form a majority.
The KMT on Jan. 22 announced its nomination of Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) for the legislative speaker role. Han was ousted as Kaohsiung mayor in a 2020 recall election after the Beijing-friendly politician lost the presidential election earlier that year.
In You's interview with Nikkei Asia ahead of the speakership election on Feb. 1, You emphasized how much congressional exchanges had achieved during his term.
He also urged newly elected opposition lawmakers not to obstruct defense spending intended to counter Beijing's military threat and to protect the country's sovereignty.