Tsai urges overseas Taiwanese to vote in local government elections

Washington, Nov. 11 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (???) issued a call Saturday for Taiwanese living abroad to return home and cast their ballots in the upcoming local government elections, saying it would be in the interest of safeguarding democracy.

"As the Nov. 24 local government elections approach, the whole world is watching whether Taiwan's people will vote for a China- leaning party or chose one that is committed to democracy and human rights," Tsai said a recorded video that was played at an event in Washington to mark 50th anniversary of the Taiwanese Association of America.

Expressing gratitude to expatriates for their long-time support, Tsai urged them to return to Taiwan to vote in the election and thus show the rest of the world their commitment to safeguarding Taiwan's democracy.

"Once our country is strong enough, we will never fear this changing world," she said.

Meanwhile, John J. Norris Jr., managing director of the Washington Office of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said at Saturday's event that next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act and that the U.S. is looking forward to strengthening ties with Taiwan.

Over the past year, the U.S. and Taiwan made achievements in the areas of security, economy, business and civilian interactions, Norris said.

The U.S. will take steps to show why it views Taiwan as a reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world, he said.

Also speaking at the event, Wu Hsin-hsing (???), head of Taiwan's Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC), said President Tsai's administration has not recognized the "1992 consensus" because it prohibits Taiwan from declaring itself as a de-jure and de-facto independent country.

"Despite the '1992 consensus,' China has already decided, without any negotiations with Taiwan, that it would like to bring Taiwan under the same "one country, two systems" framework as Hong Kong," Wu said.

However, Taiwan has strong backing from many countries, including the U.S., and is not isolated in the international community, he said, adding that Taiwan will continue to defend its free and democratic system in the face of China's threats and challenges.

The "1992 consensus" is a tacit agreement that was reached in 1992 by officials of the then Kuomintang government and the Communist Party of China at a meeting in Hong Kong. It agrees that there is only "one China," but each side is free to interpret what that means.

China has insisted on recognition of the "1992 consensus" as the sole basis for dialogue with Taiwan and has not accepted Tsai's offer to engage in any bilateral negotiations without pre-conditions.

Louis M. Huang (???), Taiwan's deputy representative to the U.S., thanked the U.S. for its support of Taiwan as expressed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Nov.9, who said his country and Taiwan share the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights.

Saturday's event was also attended by James Heller, director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Taiwan Coordination.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel