Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is standing firm in the face of China’s aggression. In a resolute speech on Sunday, the Taiwanese leader said that she and the sovereign island nation, which is separated from China by the Taiwan Strait, will not “bow to pressure” from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Taiwan faces increasing hostility from the mainland for its refusal to “reunify” with the communist government of China. Under the authoritarian regime’s One China Policy, Taiwan and its territories are a part of China, which does not respect the sovereignty of the Taiwanese government.
President Tsai’s remarks come a day after Xi pushed for the “reunification” of the two countries.
“Our position on cross-strait relations remains the same: neither our goodwill nor our commitments will change. We call for maintaining the status quo, and we will do our utmost to prevent the status quo from being unilaterally altered,” said President Tsai during a speech honoring the country’s founding on Sunday.
“We hope for an easing of cross-strait relations and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure,” she said. “We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
Taiwan has been independent of the mainland for over seven decades, since its foundation as a democratically governed nation following the brutal Chinese civil war in 1949. In recent weeks, Taiwan has faced threats to its independence from China, which include efforts to breach its airspace with around 150 warplanes over the span of several days, Rebel News reported.
The encroachment of Chinese forces has been ramping up since the start of the year, following President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.
“National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan,” said Xi. “Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end; they will be disdained by the people and condemned by history.”
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council echoed President Tsai’s remarks in a statement requesting China to “abandon its provocative steps of intrusion, harassment, and destruction.”
In a public statement, the U.S. State Department said the U.S. remains committed to supporting Taiwan, and demanded China “cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan.”
Despite its remarks, the United States, like most countries, and the United Nations does not officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation, due to China’s outsized influence on the world stage.
Only 15 countries officially recognize Taiwan as the official seat of the Chinese government and do not recognize President Xi as the legitimate ruler of the country.