American Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday attendedTaiwan's Double Ten National Day celebrations in Taipei and later met with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for one-on-one discussions.
China suspects Tsai and her independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party of pushing for the island's formal independence, and this year threatened it with war if there was any such move.
Despite her assurances, Beijing has stepped up pressure on the island to seek "reunification" and backed up its warnings by flying regular bomber patrols around it.
"The president, of course, knew that we had a relationship with Taiwan, and he didn't see what all the fuss was about, and he didn't care", said Sanders, who served as press secretary from July 2017 to July this year.
In the meeting at the Presidential Office, Cruz said Taiwan is "a powerful demonstration that freedom works", and that is why "the Communist government in China fears so deeply Taiwan's success".
Taiwan's President said unrest in Hong Kong showed Beijing's "failure" in governing the city, and vowed to defend her democratically run island's sovereignty.
The framework preserved Hong Kong's independent judiciary, civil liberties and capitalist economic system, but China's ruling Communist Party under President Xi Jinping has been increasingly accused of whittling away at such freedoms.
Referring to Hong Kong, Tsai said, "the failure of "one country, two systems" had taken Hong Kong to "the brink of disorder".
Tsai's approval rating of 41.1% far exceeds that of her challenger, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the China-friendly Kuomintang opposition, according to the latest poll by the Apple Daily newspaper.
However, KMT legislative caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that while Tsai called the words "Republic of China (Taiwan)" the overwhelming consensus of Taiwan society, the Constitution says that the national title is the Republic of China, not the Republic of China (Taiwan).
"Over 70 years, we've endured all sorts of severe challenges and not only do none of these challenges knock us down, they make us stronger and more resolute", Tsai said.
Taiwan has lost seven diplomatic allies over the past three years, including Kiribati and Solomon islands in September ahead of China's National Day on October 1. In response, Tsai said the island would not accept a "one country, two systems" arrangement.
Today, just 15 countries, small and mostly impoverished, recognize Taiwan.
Beijing also says Taiwan does not have the right to state-to-state relations and is keen to isolate it diplomatically.
Most people were probably enjoying the long weekend holiday and not actually watching the speech, Feingold said, but noted that Tsai appeared to be the frontrunner in January's presidential election. About 80 per cent of Taiwanese oppose unification with China, per government surveys in January and March.
Under Tsai's Nationalist Party predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan and China signed more than 20 agreements on trade and tourism, while sidestepping political issues.
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