Taiwan President Tsai says won’t bow to Beijing pressure during National Day celebrations

On Sunday, President Tsai Ing-wen said that Taiwan would not bow to pressure from China. Her strong speech, during the National Day celebrations has followed recent remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping who had promised to “fulfill reunification.” While Taiwan considers itself to be a sovereign state, Beijing calls it a breakaway province of China.

Ms. Tsai won the elections, once again, last year by a landslide as she had indicated that Beijing would not pressure the nation when she was in office. On Sunday, she described Taiwan as “standing on democracy’s first line of defense.”

She added that although they would not act in a rash manner, they would increase their defense systems so as to take their own path forward and not a path that was laid out by Beijing, which she described as being neither “free” nor “democratic” for 23 million Taiwanese. She mentioned that the nation favored more pressure from China as its achievements were increasing.

Tsai also touched on a recent difficult incident when Chinese military flights came very close to Taiwan airspace, a while ago. She termed this as more complex and fluid that anything else that had occurred at nay point of time “in the past 72 years.” There was a show of military strength of Taiwan, as military trucks passed the stage, during her speech.

The Taiwanese president has offered to talk to Beijing as equals. However, Chinese leaders dub her as “separatist” and have rejected her offer of talks, to date.

Tsai also spoke of “maintaining status quo” and said that they would do their best to ensure that it remained, despite Beijing’s talks of reunification with mainland China, similar to what took place with Hong Kong.

This year, celebrations were held outside the office of the presidency in Taipei, due to the pandemic. Hundreds gathered for the celebrations but the numbers, of both members of the public as well as foreign guests, were much less than yesteryears due to COVID-19 precautionary measures.

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