Taiwanese President Tsai Ying.wen made it clear today (Sunday) that the country “will not succumb to pressure”, after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced yesterday that Beijing is determined to return the island to full control in the shadow of rising tensions in the region.
Speaking on the occasion of the national holiday, Tsai stressed that Taiwan “stands at the forefront of democracy” and that the country will continue to defend its democratic character even in the face of ongoing threats from China. “Let no one live under the illusion that the Taiwanese people will succumb to pressure,” she declared.
“We will continue to strengthen our national defense and demonstrate a determination to defend ourselves to ensure that no one can force Taiwan to follow the path that China has outlined for us,” Tsai continued. “This is because the path that China has prepared for us is not a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
Tsai’s remarks came a day after President Xi declared that China is committed to reconciling the union with Taiwan, and that although it wants to do so peacefully, it does not rule out other ways.
“Taiwan’s separatist independence is the biggest obstacle to achieving homeland unification and the greatest hidden danger to national renewal,” he said. “Reunification in its own way is in the overall interest, but that no one should underestimate the determination of the Chinese people, its strong will and its ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The exchange on both sides of Taiwan’s Egypt is further evidence of rising tensions, after 150 Chinese aircraft, including fighter jets and bombers, flew in Taiwan’s air defense detection area last week. Today, after a break of a few days, three more planes were reported identified in the area.