Taiwan Wants ‘Status Quo’, Not China’s Way, Says President | World news
By HUIZHONG WU, Associated Press
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) – The President of Taiwan on Sunday called for maintaining the political status quo in a frank speech that acknowledged growing pressure from China
Tsai Ing-wen also firmly exercised Chinese military coercion, a position supported by a rare demonstration of Taiwan’s defense capabilities during a parade on his national day.
A choir of singers from the various native tribes of Taiwan sang to open the ceremony in front of the Presidential Office building in central Taipei which was built by the Japanese who ruled the island as a colony for 500 years until the end of World War II.
“We will do all we can to prevent the status quo from being unilaterally changed,” she said. China claims Taiwan as part of its national territory although the island is autonomous.
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“We will continue to strengthen our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves to ensure that no one can force Taiwan to follow the path that China has laid out for us,” Tsai said. “This is because the path China has mapped out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
Polls show they are overwhelmingly in favor of their current de facto independent state and strongly reject unification with China, which claims, within its national territory, to be brought to its control by military force if necessary. . Taiwan has become a vibrant democracy while China remains a deeply authoritarian one-party communist state.
Tsai, who rarely directly distinguishes China in his public speeches, acknowledged the increasingly tense situation Taiwan faces as Chinese military harassment has escalated over the past year. Since September last year, China has flown fighter jets more than 800 times to Taiwan.
The island has strengthened its unofficial ties with countries like Japan, Australia and the United States in the face of these tensions. “But the more results we get, the more pressure we face from China,” she said.
After Tsai’s speech, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense displayed a range of weapons, including missile launchers and armored vehicles, as fighter jets and helicopters flew overhead.
Tsai said Taiwan wants to contribute to the peaceful development of the region even as the situation becomes increasingly “tense and complex” in the Indo-Pacific.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Saturday said reunification with Taiwan “must be achieved” and said peaceful reunification is in the interest of the entire nation, including the Taiwanese people.
âNo one should underestimate the strong determination, will and ability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. “
Since last Friday, China has sent a record number of fighter jets to international airspace near Taiwan.
After Tsai’s speech, the Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan presented a series of its weapons and defense capabilities. First, several assault helicopters flew over the sky. Next, Air Force pilots flew a formation of F-16s, native defense fighters, and Mirage 2000s, leaving white streaks in their wake.
They were followed by a group of CM32 tanks, later followed by trucks carrying the Thunderbolt 2000 missile system. Other missiles followed, such as the home-made Hsiung Feng III, a supersonic missile system, and vehicles. communication tools that help guide weapons to their targets.
The parade also featured Olympic athletes from Taiwan who won medals at the Tokyo Summer Games, as well as public health officials, including those holding a daily pandemic press conference, wearing their signature vests. with fluorescent yellow edges.
Tsai also called on other legislative parties to put politics aside in order to push for reform of the island’s constitution, a document created by the then-ruling Nationalist Party in 1947 before it lost power and fled China before the Communist takeover two years later. .
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