Taipei-President Tsai Ing-wen (???) expressed regret at the Solomon Islands' decision on Monday to switch its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, and said Taiwan will never succumb to threats despite facing China's interference and suppression.
Tsai made the remarks at a press conference held Monday evening at the Presidential Office, in the wake of an announcement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (???) that Taiwan has cut diplomatic ties with the South Pacific island-nation after the latter decided to establish formal relations with China.
She strongly denounced China for having squeezed Taiwan's international space with money diplomacy and its political strength again and again.
Tsai said: "Over the past few years, China has continually used financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan's international space."
"We have responded to these actions with the sternest condemnation as not only a threat to Taiwan, but also a brazen challenge and detriment to the international order," she said.
"For years, Taiwan's attitude toward its diplomatic allies has been one of sincere friendship.
"We spare no effort and treat our allies with sincerity. However, in the face of China's interference and suppression, we will not stand to be threatened, nor will we be subjected to ceaseless demands," Tsai said.
She also accused China of making empty promises of financial assistance.
What Taiwan has done for Solomon islanders, particularly its assistance for them in the areas of medical and heath care, agriculture, education and culture, cannot be measured in dollars, she said.
"We will continue to actively engage with the world; the Republic of China (Taiwan) will continue to make friends across the globe, whether diplomatic allies or not, just like any other sovereign nation," pledged the president.
Earlier in the day, Solomon Islands' Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement voted 27-0, with six abstentions, to establish diplomatic relations with China. The decision was later approved by the Cabinet of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
The severing of ties leaves Taiwan with a mere 16 diplomatic allies across the world.
At the press conference, Tsai said that beginning Tuesday, the government will shut down Taiwan's embassy to the Solomon Islands and recall all the members of Taiwan's technical and medical missions stationed there.
She expressed thanks to members of the missions "for fighting bravely to the last for our diplomatic relationship," and said it is regrettable that their unfinished cooperative projects must come to an end.
Tsai said it is a loss for Solomon Islands people.
She also expressed her thanks to people in the South Pacific nation who have supported Taiwan during the period when speculation was circulated in the media that Honiara was considering a diplomatic switch to Beijing, as well as friends in the international community who sought to mediate the issue.
Meanwhile, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top agency in charge of China affairs, released a statement, in which it blasted China for its "manipulation and suppression," accusing Beijing of trying to influence public opinion ahead of Taiwan's presidential election in January.
Such acts have sabotaged peace in the Taiwan Strait and infringed on Taiwan's rights and interests, the statement said.
The MAC urged Taiwanese people to clearly see that the so-called "one China" policy upheld by Beijing is aimed at "eliminating the Republic of China (Taiwan) barbarically."
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel