TAIPEI, Taiwan (Reuters) – Taiwan President Tsai ing-wen stated on Wednesday that the recent trip she made overseas, including the United States of America, demonstrated to the world Taiwan’s determination to protect freedom and democracy. This was despite China staging war games all around the island.
Tsai, who had previously visited Guatemala and Belize, met with U.S. House of Representatives speaker Kevin McCarthy last week in Los Angeles.
China, infuriated by the democratically-governed Taiwan, and its right to state trappings, began military drills on the island beginning Saturday.
Tsai told Canadian legislators at her Taipei office that "through this trip, we sent again a message to international community that Taiwan was determined to safeguard democracy and freedom which earned recognition and support from our Democratic partners."
She added, "In the face of continued authoritarian growth it is more important than ever for democracies unite." "Canada is an important democratic partner. We will do everything we can to safeguard freedom and democracy together with Canada and other like-minded partners.
Tsai, despite the tensions between Canada and China, looked relaxed when she welcomed the 10 Canadian lawmakers. She even cracked a joke, after the interpreter used the French word "bonjour" to translate her opening remarks in English.
She smiled and pointed to the interpreter as she spoke in English. The lawmakers laughed.
Beijing continues military activities in the area of Taiwan despite China's announcement that three days worth of drills ended on Monday as planned.
Taiwan's Defence Ministry said Wednesday morning it detected 35 Chinese military aircraft as well as eight navy vessels in Taiwan during the previous 24 hour period.
According to a map provided by the ministry, 14 of these aircraft had crossed the medianline of the Taiwan Strait. This line is normally used as an unofficial border between the two countries.
Five Su-30 fighters crossed the median line at the northern end. The other planes crossed at the middle and southern points.
After a visit by Nancy Pelosi, then the U.S. House Speaker, to Taipei in August, China's air force began regularly crossing the median line.
China denies the existence of this line.
Taiwan's government rejects China's claims of sovereignty and states that only Taiwan's citizens can decide the future.