Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned over the weekend, as the island national celebrated its National Day, that it would not bow to pressure from communist China and that it plans to continue ramping up its military capabilities to stop China from overtaking the independent nation.
Her speech came following repeated reports that China has flown record numbers of military planes into Taiwan’s airspace and after a report from last week revealed that the Trump administration secretly put U.S. troops on the island over a year ago to help Taiwan prepare for a military conflict with China.
Tsai said that as Taiwan continues to have success, it faces increasing pressure from China and that Taiwan cannot let its guard down, saying that Taiwan was “standing on democracy’s first line of defense.”
“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 said. “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.”
“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 later added. “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.”
China sent more than 150 military aircraft into Taiwan’s defense zone over the last week, including planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told Australia’s ABC. “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment. I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”
Wu warned that one of the things that Taiwan needs to prepare for is that China may try to impose a blockade around Taiwan, which he suggested would be an even bigger problem than if China were to launch an invasion.
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