Stressing there is “no room for compromise” on “national sovereignty and free and democratic way of life,” Taiwan on Monday said the military confrontation with China was “absolutely not an option.”
Delivering her national day address in the capital Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen said: “The broadest consensus among the Taiwanese people and our various political parties is that we must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. On this point, we have no room for compromise.”
“Only by respecting the commitment of the Taiwanese people to our sovereignty, democracy, and freedom can there be a foundation for resuming constructive interaction across the Taiwan Strait,” said Tsai, as Taiwan marked the 111th Republic of China (RoC) National Day. RoC is the official name of Taiwan.
Tensions in Taiwan Strait have increased since early August after an unannounced trip to the self-ruled island nation by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi against China’s wishes.
In response, Beijing launched unprecedented military drills around the island nation, home to around 24 million people, which has insisted on its independence since 1949.
China considers Taiwan as its “breakaway province.”
“Armed confrontation is absolutely not an option for our two sides,” Tsai said.
She said peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait was “the basis for the development of cross-strait relations.”
“It is regrettable that in recent years the Beijing authorities’ escalation of their military intimidation, diplomatic pressure, trade obstructions, and attempts to erase the sovereignty of the RoC have threatened the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the region,” said Tsai.
Tsai said the island’s people have formed a strong sense of identity and belonging as they have lived and grown together.
“The Beijing authorities should not make any misjudgment on account of Taiwan’s vigorous democratic system,” said Tsai, adding Beijing should “not attempt to divide Taiwanese society by exploiting the fierce competition between our political parties.”
China has not ruled out using force to unify Taiwan with the mainland. However, it has also proposed a more autonomous status for the island nation after reunification.
Beijing said on Sunday Taiwan will “enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region after reunification.”
Beijing was responding to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s remarks about Taiwan in an interview.
Musk suggested “a special administrative zone for Taiwan.”
“Provided that China’s sovereignty, security and development interests are guaranteed, after reunification Taiwan will enjoy a high degree of autonomy as a special administrative region,” said Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.