TAIPEI: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen appealed to voters on Sunday (Dec 3) to think of what had happened to Chinese-controlled Hong Kong when they cast their ballots next month, saying peace must be backed up with a commitment to boost defences.
Taiwan prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections on Jan 13 as China, which claims the island as its own territory, ramps up military pressure to assert its claims, including two major war games around the island in the past year and a half.
China and Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), have cast the election as a choice between war and peace. China detests Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its presidential candidate, Vice President Lai Ching-te, calling them dangerous separatists.
Addressing supporters at a campaign rally for Lai in the capital Taipei, Tsai said the opposition was using “alarmist talk” of war and peace.
“I want to ask you all here, does anyone want war? Nobody does,” she said. “Look at Hong Kong and think of Taiwan. We don’t want Hong Kong-style peace. We want dignified peace.”
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of wide autonomy under a “one country, two systems” framework, which China has also offered to Taiwan – with little support on the island.
Beijing in 2020 imposed a tough national security law on Hong Kong, which it said was vital to restore stability after the city, a global financial hub, was rocked for months by sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests in 2019.
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