Q1This weekend's elections showed clear support for a Beijing-skeptic candidate - what do you think Beijing should learn from this result?


On January 11, 2020, Taiwanese citizens once again exercised their political rights. With the support of a record 8.17 million voters, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected as President for the next four years, and the Democratic Progressive Party remains the majority in the parliament. Through the elections, Taiwan has proudly demonstrated to the world its strong commitment to universal values and that the island republic has been and will always be a beacon of democracy in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

China should engage in serious reflection about the Taiwan peoples expectations as expressed by the election results. Through these elections, the Taiwanese citizens, who dislike being threatened or undermined all the time, are sending a loud and clear message. With a successful democratic system and a decent economy, we deserve respect from China.

As President Tsai pronounced in her acceptance speech, “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue are the key to positive cross-Strait interactions and long-term stable development.” We sincerely hope that the Beijing authorities face the reality and choose the right path for peaceful and constructive cross-Strait relations.

Q2Is Taiwan drifting further from China's goal of reunification?


Over the past three and half years, our government has been firm on our bottom line regarding Taiwan's sovereignty and security, but we have also been willing to maintain healthy exchanges with China. Beijings proposal of a "One Country, Two Systems" model for Taiwan is utterly unacceptable. In the face of China's unmasked intention and creeping behavior to unilaterally change the cross-Strait status quo, Taiwan has had no choice but to continue consolidating our mechanisms for democracy and establishing sufficient defense capabilities. Despite China's constant diplomatic pressure and military muscle-flexing, we stay undaunted, vigilant and at the same time have maintained a non-provocative, non-adventurist attitude to prevent serious conflict from breaking out in the Taiwan Strait.

Q3There were reports of attempted Chinese meddling in the lead up to the election - do you expect this to be a standard problem in future elections? How can the government guard against it?


Taiwan’s vibrant democratic practices are a stark contrast to Beijing’s ruthless one-party rule and oppression. This explains why the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been intensifying its efforts to meddle in Taiwan’s political process through diplomatic suppression, disinformation, infiltration and economic coercion. Taiwan learned a lesson from the 2018 local elections, in which fake news and malicious rumors influenced the perception of voters in Taiwan. In order to strengthen our mechanisms for democracy, we not only established a system to boost our ability to clarify disinformation, but also amended a number of laws to hold those accountable if they are distributing fake news or manufacturing fake news. Moreover, in order to increase transparency in our political process, we recently enacted the Anti-Infiltration Act in January 2020.

Also, Taiwan’s democratic achievement puts a different kind of pressure on China. It is an obvious challenge to the CCP leadership and a beacon of hope for the oppressed people in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as well as millions of underground Christians under Beijing’s brutal, autocratic control.

Q4How much of an impact do you think Chinese policy in Hong Kong and Xinjiang made in this election? How much has government oppression there galvanized anti-Beijing sentiment in Taiwan?


Hong Kong’s experience under the “One Country, Two Systems” model has shown the world that authoritarianism and democracy cannot coexist. The so-called “One Country, Two Systems”, the allegedly magic formula promised and practiced in Hong Kong, has been proven wrong, a total failure, and a flat-out lie. It will never be an option for Taiwan. We are very concerned about the erosion of freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. The massive street protests in Hong Kong have not only made Taiwanese cherish their existing democratic system and way of life even more, but also have made it clear to them that the “One Country, Two Systems” model is not viable. At this moment, it is even more significant for a “Beacon Taiwan” and a “Vision Taiwan” to keep staying its course, walking tall, and upholding our sovereignty, security and dignity. The January 11 elections showed that, when facing and pushing back the authoritarian Orwellian nonsense and bullying from Beijing on the frontline, the 23 million hard-working men and women on this island stand strong as an unmistakable and impeccable democratic partner in the Indo-Pacific region.

Q5China has been pressuring nations to drop official recognition of Taiwan, and leaning on major companies to do the same. Taiwan seems to be losing this battle - how concerning is this and how can Taiwan fight back?


Just as President Tsai pointed out in the interview with the BBC on January 14, “this is the time for us to think about this situation—the people's expectations, the changes in international politics, and also the potential regional tensions. So "cross-Strait" is no longer cross-Strait relations per se. It's part of the regional situation. So it's a much more complicated situation now.” Over the past few years, China has blatantly used financial and political pressure to squeeze Taiwan’s international space. We have responded with the sternest condemnation as not only a threat to Taiwan, but also a brazen challenge and detriment to the international order. For decades, Taiwan’s attitude towards its diplomatic allies has been one of genuine friendship. We spare no effort and engage our allies with respect and sincerity. However, Taiwan will not engage in dollar diplomacy or debt trap diplomacy for official recognition. Instead, we will continue to actively collaborate with both diplomatic allies and like-minded partners based on shared values and mutual interests. Taiwan should be given a fair opportunity to meaningfully participate in international affairs and punch above its weight to contribute in one way or another. Rest assured that Taiwan can help.

Q6Is the US doing enough to support Taiwan? What more can/should the current administration be doing to support Taipei? Do you expect further significant military sales, for example?


It is by the overwhelmingly bi-partisan support and unwavering commitment of the American people, Congress and the U.S. government that Taiwan can be the democracy as it is today and remains as a vital partner of the U.S. in addressing common challenges and threats. Like-minded partners, including the United States, should not shy away from expressing their support for our flourishing democracy and economic prosperity. One concrete sign of American resolve would be the attendance of a Cabinet-level official at the inauguration of Taiwan’s freely elected leaders this year. An equally important step would be to boost strategic and economic cooperation through the early negotiation of a bilateral trade agreement. A strong and enduring U.S.-Taiwan partnership will be a concrete assurance of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Q7Do you expect this election result to prompt more Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait? If so, how will the Taiwanese government respond?


We urge China to respect the election results and the will and determination of the Taiwanese citizens. It is our firm belief that only under the principle of “peace, parity, democracy, and dialogue” can the cross-Strait relations be improved, much like President Tsai stated in the BBC interview that “You cannot exclude the possibility of a war at any time. But the thing is you have to get yourself prepared and develop the ability to defend yourself.” Therefore, we are not going to be provocative whatsoever in our relationship with China, but we have to equip ourselves with sufficient defense capabilities to deter any sort of aggression or hostile military actions. That is our priority.

Q8Is there anything else you would like to add?


Taiwan is an indispensable member and key stakeholder of the international community. As Vice President Mike Pence noted in his speech at the Wilson Center last October, “The international community must never forget that its engagement with Taiwan does not threaten the peace; it protects the peace on Taiwan and throughout the region.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted in his congratulatory message to President Tsai, reaffirming Taiwans robust democratic system and developing strong US-Taiwan partnership. We could not agree with them more!