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WASHINGTON (AP) — Taiwan’s foreign minister said Wednesday that Chinese “coercion” of the self-governing island poses a threat to regional security and global values of freedom and democracy.

Joseph Wu described Taiwan’s rivalry with China as a David versus Goliath struggle, and appealed for ever-closer economic and security ties between Taipei and Washington.

He made the remarks in a recorded video address to a conference at the Global Taiwan Institute in Washington.

Wu said that if China “is allowed to push Taiwan around and force Taiwan to surrender through coercion, there will be severe global consequences on the democratic way of life and the rule of law.”

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Taiwan split from mainland China amid civil war in 1949, and Beijing, which considers Taiwan its territory, campaigns relentlessly to isolate the island globally. It cut off relations with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s government shortly after she took office in 2016 and has been steadily ratcheting up both diplomatic and economic pressure.

While the United States formally recognizes only China, it remains a close Taiwanese ally and maintains a de facto embassy in the island’s capital, Taipei. Last week, the U.S. recalled its envoys to three Central American nations for consultations after those governments cut ties with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with China.

Taiwan is recognized as a sovereign nation by only 17 mainly small, developing countries.

Last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced legislation that would punish countries that choose to drop diplomatic recognition of Taiwan to please Beijing.