China launched large-scale naval and air exercises Aug. 19 to threaten Taiwan in response to Vice President Lai Ching-te’s stopovers in the United States en route to one of our South American diplomatic allies, Paraguay (“Chinese military launches drills around Taiwan as a ‘warning’ after a top island official went to US,” BostonGlobe.com, Aug. 19). China’s irrational and provocative actions not only pose a risk to the peace and stability in the region but also threaten democratic values and the rules-based international order.
Since last year, China has sent warplanes and naval vessels near Taiwan’s airspace and territorial waters almost daily to threaten and intimidate Taiwan. Recently, China has stepped up its economic coercion and gray zone activities toward Taiwan, aiming to interfere in Taiwan’s January 2024 presidential election.
China should hold its own democratic elections instead of meddling in Taiwan’s democracy. The Taiwanese people are proud of our democratic way of life and will not bow to any pressure from across the Taiwan Strait. As Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, tweeted recently, “It’s up to our citizens to decide, not the bully next door.”
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston