Amid the unrelenting Chinese incursions into Taiwan's air defence identification zone, President Tsai Ing-wen on Sunday promised to defend the island's sovereignty in the face of "unprecedented challenges" brought by China's military coercion.
Delivering the island's National Day address, Tsai stated that Taiwan is no longer seen as the orphan of Asia, but as an "Island of Resilience" that can face challenges with courage. "But the more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China. So I want to remind all my fellow citizens that we do not have the privilege of letting down our guard." Her remarks come amidst the rising tensions between Beijing and Taipei after nearly 150 Chinese military aircraft breached the airspace of Taiwan over a period of four days.
"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." Tsai highlighted that China is challenging the regional order in the South and East China Seas. "The routinization of Chinese military activity in Taiwan's southwestern air defence identification zone (ADIZ) has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety." She reiterated Taiwan's willingness 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." On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to pursue "reunification" with Taiwan by peaceful means and asserted that the country firmly opposes any foreign interference in the matter.
"The Taiwan issue is exclusively an internal affair of China, and any external interference is inadmissible," Chinese President Xi Jinping said during his address to mark the 110th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution.
The leader warned against underestimating the Chinese people's "firm determination, unshakable will and significant ability" to defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity, adding that the historic task to complete reunification of the homeland must and will certainly be fulfilled," Sputnik reported.
"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 added.
Over a four-day period beginning last Friday, Taiwan said that nearly 150 People's Liberation Army (PLA) military aircraft entered its air defence identification zone (ADIZ), part of a pattern of what Taipei calls Beijing's continued harassment of the nation, reported Taipei Times.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan despite the island's self-governance for more than seven decades.
Taipei has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.