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Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expresses ‘empathy’ for Ukraine’s plight

FILE PHOTO: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen waves at the end of a rank conferral ceremony for military officials from the Army, Navy and Air Force, at the defence ministry in Taipei, Taiwan December 28, 2021. REUTERS/Annabelle Chih

Due to the military threat the island faces from China, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen voiced “empathy” for Ukraine’s predicament on Friday, saying force was not the approach to settling issues.

The news: Over the past two years, Taiwan has complained about periodic Chinese military operations near it, notably flights within the island’s air defence zone, as part of a pattern that Taipei sees as Beijing pressuring it to acknowledge China’s sovereignty claims over the island.

  • In the latest flare-up of tensions, Taiwanese fighters raced to warn away 39 Chinese aircraft in the greatest invasion by China’s air force in its air defence zone since October, according to the island’s defence ministry.

What Tsai said: The Ukraine situation required special attention during a meeting of Taiwan’s National Security Council.

  • “Taiwan has faced military threats and intimidation from China for a long time. Therefore, we empathize with Ukraine’s situation, and we also support the efforts of all parties to maintain regional security,” her office cited her as saying at the meeting.
  • Tsai has requested the National Security Council to form a working group to monitor developments in Ukraine and their potential influence on Taiwan’s security.
  • Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific area are not only everyone’s responsibility, but also the international community’s expectation, according to Tsai.
  • “The military is definitely not an option to resolve disputes – this is a universal truth.”

In addition: In their impasse over Ukraine, Russia said on Thursday that it was evident that the U.S. was unwilling to address its primary security concerns, but both parties left the door open for further talks.

  • The U.S. and NATO responded in writing to Russia’s demands for a redrawing of post-Cold War security arrangements in Europe on Wednesday, after Russia massed troops in Ukraine, causing Western fears of invasion and additional U.S. defence guarantees.
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