Amid China’s growing threats to Taiwan, the island nation’s president Tsai Ing-wen has vowed not to kowtow to the communists. Her remarks come as Xi Jinping has once again repeated rhetoric about how the democratic nation must “unify” with China against the wishes of most of its 23 million residents.
On October 10, Tsai warned against “letting down our guard” against China. She made her remarks at the National Day ceremony which commemorates the country’s independence, Radio Free Asia reported.
“The situation in the Indo-Pacific region is becoming more tense and complex by the day,” Tsai said. “After taking complete control of Hong Kong and suppressing democracy activists, the Beijing authorities also shifted away from the path of political and economic development that they had followed since reform and opening up began decades ago.”
The Taiwanese president says that China’s repeated incursions into its air space “has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety.”
“I want to reiterate that Taiwan is willing to do its part to contribute to the peaceful development of the region,” Tsai said, adding that the two countries resume their diplomatic talks, which Beijing has repeatedly refused.
“We … will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure,” Tsai said.
“We will continue to bolster our national defence 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,” she said. “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.”
Tsai’s remarks come a day after Xi said he was determined to bring Taiwan under communist control at a public conference.
“The historical task of complete unification of the Motherland must necessarily be realized … without fail,” Xi said, noting that “Taiwan independence forces” had undermined the process.
Taiwan is a sovereign nation that calls itself the Republic of China after nationalists from China fled the country to the island following the communist revolution in 1949.
In addition to Tsai’s speech, the National Day celebrations were backed up by a show of strength, which included a military parade involving helicopters, fighter planes, and bombers, and two Taiwanese flags carried over the presidential palace by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
The parade also featured Taiwan's anti-ship missiles, and surface to air missiles mounted on trucks, all of which were developed in the country.
Hong Kong, which used to also celebrate Taiwan’s October 10 National Day, has banned celebrations under Chinese pressure.
Hong Kong Secretary for security Chris Tang warned that celebrating the so-called Double Tenth celebrations could constitute support for Taiwanese independence, which is a crime under Hong Kong's newly implemented national security law, which was put in place by the Chinese communist government last year.