Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

In a strong rip-off to Beijing, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen says her nation will continue to strengthen its defenses to ensure that no one can force the island to accept the path China has taken that offers neither freedom nor democracy. .

Alleged by China as its own territory, Taiwan has come under growing military and political pressure to accept Beijing’s rule, including repeated Chinese air force missions in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, raising international concern.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday promised to realize “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and did not directly mention the use of force.

Still, he got an angry reaction from Taipei, who said that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.

Speaking at a National Day meeting on Sunday, Tsai said she was hoping for a easing of tensions over the Strait of Taiwan and reiterated that Taiwan would not “act recklessly”.

“But there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure,” she said in a speech outside the presidential office in central Taipei.

“We will continue to strengthen our national defenses and show our willingness to defend ourselves to ensure that no one can force Taiwan to go the way China has laid out for us,” Tsai added.

“It is because the path China has taken offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”

Taiwan’s most ‘complex’ situation in decades

China has offered a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy to Taiwan, much like it uses with Hong Kong, but all major Taiwanese parties have rejected it, especially after China’s security attack in the former British colony.

Ms. Tsai reiterated an offer to speak to China on the basis of parity, although there was no immediate response from Beijing to her speech.

Beijing has refused to treat her, calling her a separatist who refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China”.

Tsai said Taiwan’s goodwill would not change and it would do everything it could to prevent the status quo with China from being unilaterally changed.

She warned that Taiwan’s situation was “more complex and fluid than at any other time in the last 72 years” and that China’s routine military presence in Taiwan’s air defense zone had seriously affected national security and aviation security.

Ms. Tsai oversees a military modernization program to strengthen its defenses and deterrence, including building its own submarines.

Its armed forces were a large part of the National Day parade, which Tsai oversaw as fighter jets roared across the clouds over the presidential office and truck-mounted missile shooters, including weapons, passed in front of the stage where she was sitting.

Taiwan is on the front lines to defend democracy, Tsai said.

Reuters

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