TAIPEI (Reuters) -Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday that she, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang will each donate one month’s salary to aid humanitarian relief efforts for Ukraine as it seeks to repel an invasion by Russia.
The war has generated widespread sympathy in Taiwan for Ukraine’s people, due to the threat the island says it faces on a daily basis from giant neighbour China. Beijing views Taiwan as its own territory and has stepped up its military pressure to assert those claims.
Tsai, whose government this week send its first batch of aid in the form of 27 tonnes of medical supplies, told a meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party that the determination of Ukraine’s people has moved the world and Taiwan’s people too.
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.
The forces of global democracy supporting Ukraine are growing stronger, Tsai said.
“As a member of the global partners of democracy, Taiwan is not absent, and we fully support Ukraine.”
The Foreign Ministry will provide details of a bank account set up by Taiwan’s Relieve Disaster Association for Ukraine relief donations into which Tsai said she, Lai and Su will each donate a month’s salary.
A person familiar with the situation told Reuters that Tsai as president receives around T$400,000 ($14,250) a month in pay.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said separately it has asked its de facto embassy in Warsaw, the Polish government and its “designated” non-government organisations to help distribute the funds to aid Ukrainian refugees.
Taiwan last week also announced it was joined Western-led sanctions on Russia, though its own trade with the country is minimal.
“I hope that our compatriots, as well as all our party partners in public office, can fully respond to this action and firmly express to the world that Taiwan stands with Ukraine, and Taiwan stands with democracy and freedom,” Tsai said.
Taiwan is largely excluded from global organisations like the United Nations due to Chinese pressure, but aspires to show it is a responsible member of the international community despite its diplomatic isolation.
(Reporting by Yimou Lee and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kenneth Maxwell)