As part of a speech held this past Sunday, the President of Taiwan stood up to Chinese President Xi Jinping and stated that the island, which is separated from China by the Taiwan Strait, would refuse to “bow to pressure” coming from the mainland. This speech crops up during a bought of heightened pressure coming from the leadership of China’s communist party over in Beijing and just a day after Xi made a push for the “reunification” of Taiwan with China.
“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,” stated President Tsai Ing-we in their speech made to honor the country’s founding this past Sunday afternoon.
“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 stated. “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.”
As a democratically governed nation, Taiwan has been completely independent of the mainland’s rule for just over seventy years. However, in the past few weeks, the nation has been looking down the barrel of threats to its independence coming from China, which has included the sending of well over 150 fighter jets, from the communist government, into Taiwanese airspace over the past several days.
This past Saturday, as part of a speech made in the Great Hall of the People, Xi pressured Taiwan to “join hands” and reunify China.
“National reunification by peaceful means best serves the interests of the Chinese nation as a whole, including our compatriots in Taiwan,” stated Xi.
“Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end; they will be disdained by the people and condemned by history,” he stated.
The response heard from the Taiwanese president to the comments seems to coincide with comments made by the Mainland Affairs Council, which has requested that China “abandon its provocative steps of intrusion, harassment and destruction,” as reported by Reuters.
As stated in a release, the U.S. State Department stated that the U.S. was committed to Taiwan and demanded that China “cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan.” Like most of the countries across the world, currently, the United States does not recognize Taiwan as an official independent country or as the Republic of China, which is Taiwan’s name for itself.