TAIPEI (DPA) - Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen says her administration will consider granting Hong Kong protesters asylum based on humanitarian concerns, state media reported on Friday (July 19).
Ms Tsai's comments were made late on Thursday in St Lucia, the last stop on her state visit to Taiwan's Caribbean allies, in response to news reports that some Hong Kong protesters, who stormed the city's legislature on July 1, were considering seeking asylum in Taiwan.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, which oversees the island's policies on China, late on Thursday declined to confirm if it had been contacted by protesters seeking political asylum, the state-run Central News Agency reported.
The council said that if Taiwan receives applications from Hong Kong residents for political asylum, relevant government agencies will handle the cases in accordance with the law based on the principle of protecting human rights, the report added.
In Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous Chinese city, tensions between protesters and the authorities continue since protests against a controversial extradition law saw millions of residents participate.
Ms Tsai has urged the Hong Kong government to address the concerns of protesters. Ms Tsai earlier this year denounced Chinese President Xi Jinping's plan to apply to Taiwan the same "one country, two systems" principle that it applies to Hong Kong, calling it a threat to the "free and democratic lifestyle" of the self-governing island.
Taiwan has had its own government since 1949, when the Chinese Nationalists fled there after losing a civil war to the communists.
Beijing considers the democracy part of its territory.