Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, on Sunday responded to the provocative actions taken by China in the past week against her nation.
Tsai gave a speech Sunday in which she said that Taiwan would “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,” 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.”
The speech from Taiwan’s leader was a rebuff of China’s escalation against Taiwan who recently flew almost 150 aircraft flying into Taiwan’s defense zone.
On Saturday, the day before Tsai made her remarks, Chinese President Xi Jinping once again claimed that China would seek to “reunify” Taiwan and China.
He said he hoped that unification would happen in a “peaceful manner,” and went on to say that he found a peaceful resolution to be “most in line with the overall interest of the Chinese nation, including Taiwan compatriots.”
However, Xi added: “No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled,” he said.
Tsai said that she was willing to negotiate on an equal footing with Beijing, but nine hours later, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office responded by saying that her “speech advocated Taiwan independence, incited confrontation, cut apart history and distorted facts.”
The conflict between China and Taiwan began in 1949 when Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek was forced to retreat from the mainland to Taiwan by Communist forces, led by Mao Zedong.
A precarious peace and diplomatic controversy have existed ever since.
Taiwan is a democratic bastion located off the coast of the authoritarian mainland of China. China claims sovereignty over the island, but Taiwan considers itself an independent nation.
But that hasn’t stopped China from threatening Taiwan with increasing boldness, and the Chinese regime has consistently insisted that it will reclaim Taiwan by military offensive if necessary.
According to the BBC, “In 2004, China passed a so-called anti-secession law, stating China’s right to use “non-peaceful means” against Taiwan if it tried to ‘secede’ from China.”
China continues to ramp up pressure in the South China Sea. And given their actions and rhetoric over the past decade, this trend will likely continue.