Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was awarded the Global Leadership Award on Thursday by the Hudson Institute, a leading U.S. research policy group in New York.
“She has led a vibrant democracy with great courage and clear-eyed determination to resist tyranny and maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the organization said in a statement after the event.
Tsai traveled through New York on her way to Guatemala and Belize, two of the 13 countries that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. She will visit Los Angeles after her visit to Central and South America. U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other members of Congress plan to meet with Tsai in Los Angeles. In response, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office has said that Beijing will take “resolute countermeasures.”
Miles Yu, director of the Hudson Institute’s China Center, who attended the award ceremony, said the meeting between Tsai and McCarthy “was not mentioned during the whole evening” in a phone interview with VOA’s Mandarin service.
Hudson Insitute President and CEO John P. Walters said in a statement that “We are honored to host President Tsai. Under her leadership, the U.S. and Taiwan have expanded and deepened their security and economic relationship,” and “We are proud that America stands with Taiwan. And Hudson remains steadfast in promoting the security, freedom, and prosperity of America and its allies.”
Tsai’s two days of events in New York were largely closed-door, but protests organized by pro-Beijing expatriate groups followed her. On Thursday, neither Tsai nor the attendees used the hotel’s main entrance, but protesters across the street from the hotel held up banners and Chinese national flags, shouted anti-Taiwan independence and anti-Tsai slogans over loudspeakers and played pro-China patriotic songs.
“This is not surprising in a democratic country, but it doesn’t make sense,” Yu said.
“Taiwan’s image in the world arena is becoming more and more positive, while China’s political ideology and tactics are reviled by all democracies around the world.”
In her acceptance speech, Tsai talked about the exchange and friendship between the people of the United States and Taiwan, and bilateral cooperation in technology and trade.
Yu told VOA that what struck him the most during the question-and-answer session was Tsai’s reference to the democratic values of both the United States and Taiwan, and the importance of freedom of expression in Taiwan’s diverse environment. Tsai stressed that “democracy does not lead to chaos, but instead strengthens national unity.”
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