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Tsai calls for cooperation to ensure peace, stability in Asia-Pacific

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President Tsai Ing-wen said Jan. 9 that amid the challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific, all countries need to work together to ensure the peaceful and stable status quo of the region.

The government will not adopt a reckless approach to cross-strait relations nor revert to the old way of avoiding contact with mainland China, Tsai said. Regional peace and stability is not the unilateral responsibility of Taiwan, but a common goal requiring cooperation among all countries in the region, she added.

Tsai made the remarks while receiving a delegation from the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies of Harvard University at the Office of the President in Taipei City.

According to the president, frequent activity by mainland China’s armed forces in the Pacific is forcing counties in the region to respond and raising the risk of mistakes and misunderstandings. In particular, mainland China’s recent unilateral launch of air route M503 without consulting Taiwan has affected aviation safety and impacted the stable cross-strait status quo maintained with great effort by Taiwan, she said.

In light of this development, Tsai said she has directed all agencies responsible for national security to map out response measures in line with the goal of minimizing national risk and maximizing regional cooperation. It is hoped the international community will understand this goal and support fast-tracked negotiations by the two sides over the air route, she added.

Going forward, strengthening Taiwan’s defense capabilities remains a top policy priority for the government as the nation’s security hinges on its ability to defend itself and resist invasion, the president said.

As commander in chief of the Republic of China (Taiwan) armed forces, Tsai said she is working with high-ranking officers in boosting the morale of the military and its operational capacity, and has announced the government will steadily increase spending on defense. (SFC-E)