President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday rebuffed criticism over the potential loss of diplomatic ally the Solomon Islands.

“The situation with the Solomon Islands has not been decided,” she told reporters during visits to a temple and church in the Taipei area, who asked about reports that the Solomon Islands might switch diplomatic ties to Beijing.

Asked about comments by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) presidential candidate, that the nation is “losing face and losing the battle” on international relations, Tsai said that foreign affairs are not about saving face, but “are full of tough challenges at the highest level.”

Four things are important, she said.

“First, we need experienced people with an international perspective to take on these tasks,” she said.

The Republic of China needs to make more friends who share the same universal values and when the nation encounters problems, those friends should speak up for Taiwan and defend those shared values, she said.

“Second, we have the responsibility to uphold regional peace and stability,” Tsai said. “Third: For countries in need, especially our diplomatic allies, we must assist their people, helping their economic and industrial development.”

“Fourth, Taiwanese companies need the business opportunities in global markets,” she said.

“These four points have guided the government for the past few years and we are striving to keep them. By doing so, we can receive more support on the international stage and make more friends,” she said. “This is what Taiwanese expect in foreign affairs.”

Asked about Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) quitting the KMT, Tsai, who is seeking re-election, said: “No matter what, I will go all-out for the election campaign… We are confident about the overall situation in the run-up to the election.”

After a cultural event at the Haiguang Temple (海光宮) in Shilin District (士林), Tsai visited the Tamsui (淡水) Presbyterian Church in New Taipei City.

Tsai told church members that all Taiwanese hope that the president would defend Taiwan’s sovereignty, democracy and freedom.

“Freedom of religion and culture are the most cherished parts of Taiwan’s cultural heritage,” she said. “As president, I have the responsibility to preserve them.”