Taiwan will continue to strengthen its defenses to ensure that no one can force the island to accept the path that China has laid out that offers neither freedom nor democracy, President Tsai Ing-wen said in a strong response to Beijing on Sunday.
Claimed by China as its own territory, Taiwan has come under increasing military and political pressure to accept the Beijing government, including repeated missions by the Chinese air force into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, with concern. international.
Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed on Saturday to carry out “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan and did not directly mention the use of force. Still, he received an angry backlash from Taipei, who said that only the people of Taiwan can decide their future.
Addressing a National Day rally, Tsai said he hoped tensions along the Taiwan Strait would ease and reiterated that Taiwan will not “act rashly.”
“But there should be absolutely no illusion that the Taiwanese people will give in to pressure,” he said in the speech in front of the presidential office in central Taipei.
“We will continue to strengthen our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves to ensure that no one can force Taiwan to take the path that China has laid out for us,” Tsai added.
“This is because the path China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
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The ‘One country, two systems’ model is proposed
China has offered a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy to Taiwan, much like what it uses with Hong Kong, but all major Taiwanese parties have rejected it, especially after China’s security crackdown in the former. British colony.
Tsai repeated an offer to speak to China on the basis of parity, although Beijing did not immediately respond to his speech.
Beijing has refused to deal with her, calling her a separatist who refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China” and does not recognize the Taiwanese government.
Tsai says that Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China, its formal name, and that it will not compromise the defense of its sovereignty or freedom.
Still, Taiwan’s goodwill will not change, and it will do its best to prevent the status quo with China from being unilaterally altered, he said.
Tsai warned that Taiwan’s situation is “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 has seriously affected national security and security. of aviation.
She is overseeing a military modernization program to bolster its defenses and deterrence, including building its own long-range submarines and missiles that can deeply strike China.
The armed forces were an important part of the National Day parade that Tsai oversaw, with fighter jets roaring through the skies above the presidential office and truck-mounted missile launchers among other weapons passing in front of the stage where she was sitting.
Taiwan is on the front lines of defending democracy, Tsai added.
“The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we will face from China. That is why I want to remind all my fellow citizens that we do not have the privilege to lower our guard.”