On the occasion of the 110th National Day Celebrations, President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan (Republic of China) has reiterated that her country will not give in to the reunification agenda of China (People’s Republic of China).

While Taiwan views itself as a sovereign state, China merely sees it as a part of its territory. After a civil war that ended over 70 years ago, the two regions have been governed separately. Over the last few weeks there has been an increasing build-up pf tensions in the Taiwan Strait with China engaging in a show of strength by flying over 150 fighter jets over the region.

Drawing attention to the increasingly aggressive tactics by China, Taiwanese President Ing-wen said, “The situation in the Indo-Pacific region is becoming more tense and complex by the day. 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.” She further pointed out, “At the same time, regional order is being challenged in the South and East China Seas. The routinization of Chinese military activity in Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ) has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety.”

On the subject of Taiwan’s commitment to peace she said, “I want to reiterate that Taiwan is willing to do its part to contribute to the peaceful development of the region. 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.”

However, she warned, “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. 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.”

President Ing-wen’s strong words come just a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping had insisted that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be fulfilled”. CNN quoted him as saying, “People should not underestimate Chinese people’s determination to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The task of complete reunification of China must be achieved, and it will definitely be achieved.” He was speaking at the 110th anniversary of the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty.

*Feature image courtesy Office of the President – Republic of China (Taiwan)