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TAIPEI, March 2 (Reuters) – Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on Wednesday she, Vice President William Lai and Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang would each donate a month’s salary to help with humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine as that it seeks to repel an invasion by Russia.
The war has generated widespread sympathy in Taiwan for the Ukrainian people, due to the threat the island faces daily from neighboring giant China. Beijing considers Taiwan its own territory and has stepped up military pressure to enforce these claims.
Tsai, whose government this week sent its first batch of aid in the form of 27 tons of medical supplies, told a meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party that the determination of the Ukrainian people had moved the world and the Taiwanese people as well.
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 for Democracy, Taiwan is not absent, and we fully support Ukraine.”
The Foreign Ministry will provide details of a bank account opened by the Taiwan Disaster Relief Association for relief donations to Ukraine, to which Tsai said she, Lai and Su would 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.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said separately that it had asked its de facto embassy in Warsaw, the Polish government and its “designated” non-governmental organizations to help distribute the funds to help Ukrainian refugees.
Taiwan also announced last week that it had joined Western sanctions on Russia, despite its own trade with the country being minimal.
“I hope that our compatriots, as well as all of our party partners in public service, can fully respond to this action and firmly express to the world that Taiwan stands with Ukraine, and that Taiwan stands with democracy and freedom,” Tsai said.
Taiwan is largely excluded from global organizations like the United Nations due to Chinese pressure, but yearns to show itself as 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
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