TAIWAN/CHINA: The island nation of Taiwan is armed and determined to counter and punish any aggression from the Chinese front, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday on the anniversary of a deadly confrontation nearly six decades ago when Taiwanese forces defended themselves against Chinese attackers.
Tensions have escalated to a severe degree between the two countries ever since US Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew to Taipei on a diplomatic mission to secure US confidence in Taiwan’s sovereignty, much to the chagrin of China, who launched successive missile operations near the Taiwan Strait.
At the address, Ing-wen met with military officials, lauding the country’s great “spirit” of defending its borders against persistent Chinese threats and more than a month of intense bombardment of the Taiwan-controlled islands of Kinmen and Matsu, just off the Chinese coast, that started back in late August 1958.
Ing-wen’s office released a statement where the leader was quoted saying, “This battle defended Taiwan for us, and it also declared to the world that no threat can shake the determination of the Taiwanese people to defend their country.”
“What we have to do is to let the enemy understand that Taiwan has the determination and preparation to defend the country, as well as the ability to defend itself,” she added.
The Taiwanese leader did not back down before issuing a final warning against China and boldly stated, “A heavy price will be paid for invading Taiwan or attempting to invade Taiwan, and it will be strongly condemned by the international community.”
Now that Taiwan is sure of US confidence and support, it remains unnerved and fearless in the face of continued Chinese attacks.
Earlier in the day, Ing-wen greeted a delegation of former U.S. officials now at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, including Matt Pottinger, former U.S. President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser. She said that the infamous 1958 battle with China paved the way for today’s Taiwan.
“Sixty-four years ago during the August 23 battle, our soldiers and civilians operated in solidarity and safeguarded Taiwan, so that we have democratic Taiwan today,” she said, praising Taiwanese valour which ultimately defeated the Chinese and drove them away.
Taiwan received huge support from the United States, which arrived in a tangible form of military aid and assistance including advanced Sidewinder anti-aircraft missiles, giving the country a rare technological edge over its rival.
More popularly called the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, it was the last time Taiwanese forces joined battle with China on a big scale. Another conflict looms over the future of the two countries if missile threats and diplomatic warnings between them ensue.
The United States had, however, dismissed its Taipei diplomatic connections in favour of Beijing in 1979, but remains Taiwan’s biggest arms dealer.
“As Taiwan stands on the front line of authoritarian expansionism we continue to bolster our defence autonomy, and we will also continue to work with the United States on this front,” Tsai said.
Taiwan continues to fend off Chinese threats around its borders and vows to work with the international community to “defend against interference by authoritarian states”, Ing-wen said.
Taiwan claims that the People’s Republic of China has never governed the island nation and hence, reserves no right to claim the island as part of its mainland or under its control. The sovereignty of the democratic nation lies with its people, most of whom refuse to shake hands with its biggest aggressor.