Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would continue to increase its defenses to ensure that no one could force the “territory” to accept the path that China has given us.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has said his government will not bow to Chinese pressure and will strengthen the island’s defenses to protect its democratic way of life.
Xi’s strong repo came on Sunday, a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised “peaceful reconciliation” with the autonomous region.
Under Xi, Beijing has stepped up military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its rule.
This includes repeated Chinese air force missions in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. In the first week of October alone, Beijing sent some 149 military aircraft near the island, forcing Taiwan to raise its warplanes and raising international concerns.
At a rally on the occasion of Taiwan’s National Day, Sai said on Sunday that he hoped to ease tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
He said his government would not act “in a hurry”, but said “there should be no confusion that the people of Taiwan will bow to pressure”.
Taiwan “will continue to strengthen our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves so that no one can force Taiwan to take the path that China has chosen for us.”
“This is because the path that China has taken does not offer Taiwan an independent and democratic way of life, nor does it offer us the sovereignty of our 2 billion people.”
Officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan is a democratically administered island located about 161 kilometers (100 miles) off the coast of mainland China.
The two sides have ruled separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, with Chiang Kai-shek’s defeated nationalists establishing his government in Taipei and Mao Zedong’s communists establishing the People’s Republic of China in Beijing.
Beijing sees Taiwan as an isolated province, and tensions have reached a record high under Xi, who cut off official contact with Taipei five years ago after the election of Xi.
Calling Beijing Psyche a separatist, Taiwan refuses to acknowledge being part of “one China.”
Tsai, who is overseeing a military modernization program to strengthen Taiwan’s defense and resistance, reiterated his offer to talk to China on “equality” basis on Sunday.
He said Taiwan’s goodwill would not change and that it would do its best to prevent the situation with China from changing unilaterally.
Tsai warned that the situation in Taiwan was “more complex and fluid than anywhere else in the last 72 years”, and said that China’s routine military presence in Taiwan’s air defense zone had severely affected national security and aircraft security.
He said Taiwan stands at the forefront of defending democracy.
“The more we achieve, the more pressure we will face from China. So I want to remind all my fellow citizens that we have no special right to lose our guard.