Taiwan’s president on Sunday vowed to protect the island from mounting pressure for China’s reunification, after a week of unprecedented tensions with Beijing.
Speaking at the island’s National Day celebrations, a rare display of Taiwan’s defense capabilities at the annual parade underscores Tsai Ing-wen’s promise to resist Chinese military threats.
“We will do our best to prevent the status quo from changing unilaterally,” President Tsai said.
Taiwan’s leader said, “We will continue to strengthen our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves to ensure that no one forces Taiwan to follow the path set for us by China.” can do.”
China claims Taiwan as part of its national territory, although the island has been self-governing since its separation from the communist-ruled mainland in 1949 after a long civil war.
Tsai emphasized the island’s vibrant democracy in contrast to Beijing’s deeply authoritarian, single-party communist state.
“The path China has taken does not provide a free and democratic lifestyle for Taiwan nor sovereignty for our 23 million people,” Tsai said.
A group of singers from various indigenous tribes of Taiwan inaugurated the ceremony in front of the presidential office building in the center of the capital Taipei.
Surveys show Taiwanese people favor their current de facto independent state and strongly reject integration with China, which has vowed to bring the island under its control by military force if necessary.
Tsai rarely mentions China in her public speeches, but acknowledged rising tensions that Taiwan has been facing over the past year in the form of Chinese military persecution. Since September last year, China has flown more than 800 fighter jets towards Taiwan.
Since last Friday, China has sent record-breaking fighter jets towards international airspace near Taiwan.
To counter these perceived threats, the island has strengthened its informal ties with countries such as Japan, Australia and the US.
“But the more we achieve, the more pressure we face from China,” Tsai said in his speech.
Following the address, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense displayed a range of weapons, including missile launchers and armored vehicles, while fighter jets and helicopters rose overhead. These included a formation of F-16s, indigenous defense fighters and Mirage 2000?s that left widespread white constrictions in their wake.
Air power was demonstrated by a group of CM32 tanks, followed by trucks carrying missile systems.
Tsai said Taiwan wants to contribute to peaceful regional development, even as the situation in the Indo-Pacific becomes “more tense and complicated”.
On Saturday, China’s leader Xi Jinping said reunification with Taiwan “must be realized”, while claiming a “peaceful” reunification was possible.
“No one should underestimate the determination, will and ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi declared.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office issued a statement on Sunday night in response to Tsai’s speech, saying that Tsai’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party, “is a source of unrest and tension in cross-strait relations, and is the cause of peace and tranquility in Taiwan.” The biggest threat to stability is the Strait.”
Sunday’s parade in Taipei also included Olympic athletes from Taiwan, who won medals at the Tokyo Summer Games, as well as public health officials, who held a daily press conference about the pandemic, in their distinctive neon yellow- Wearing edged vests.
Tsai called on other legislative parties to put politics aside to reform the island’s constitution, a document created before the then-ruling Nationalist Party lost power in 1947 and fled China before the Communist takeover two years later. .