TAIWAN: War between China and Taipei is “absolutely not an option,” said Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on Monday, as she reiterated her willingness to convene with Beijing and vowed to reinforce the country’s defenses, including with precision missiles.
In a latest hostile move, Beijing refused to engage in her latest overture, renewing China’s long stance that Taiwan was an inseparable part of its mainland territory.
Democratically-governed Taiwan, with its own independent leaders and borders, has long been subject to unpredictable missile operations and armed threats from the Chinese military as a form of subjugation, which heightened when U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei back in early August.
Speaker Pelosi traveled to Taipei in the midst of great controversy, even risking the wrath of China, to pledge American solidarity with Taipei’s resistance to Chinese invasive forces.
Any conflict that involves China or Taiwan will inevitably drag in the United States, Japan, and perhaps much of the world, as well as debilitate the global economy, which is already crumbling amid the Ukraine crisis.
Moreover, China and Taiwan’s role as significant producers and exporters of items ranging from smartphones to fighter jets could be compromised, jeopardizing the entire global network.
In her national day speech outside the presidential office under a grey sky, Tsai said that amid Taiwan’s genuine efforts to come to an agreement with China on sovereignty and independence, it was “regrettable” that China escalated its intimidation and threatened peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and region.
However, China should not think there is any room for compromise in the commitment of Taiwan’s people to democracy and freedom, she said.
“I want to make clear to the Beijing authorities that armed confrontation is not an option for our two sides. 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.”
Meanwhile, China is bent upon trying to dismiss Taipei’s resistance to Chinese authority. In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mai Ning said Taiwan is part of China, “has no president, and is not an independent country.”
“The root cause of the current tensions in the Taiwan Strait lies in the Democratic Progressive Party authorities’ stubborn insistence on Taiwan independence and secession,” she said, referring to Taiwan’s ruling party. “We are willing to create a broad space for peaceful reunification, but we will never leave any space for Taiwan independence and secession activities.”
An official familiar with Tsai’s thinking said that the comments were essential to “clearly convey” her position to the world and Beijing.
“Standing firm on the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is the main axis of Tsai’s comments on cross-strait relations this year,” the official said, adding this was the world’s expectation and responsibility of both Taipei and Beijing.
Bolstering defenses to counteract Chinese threats to the island nation has been the cornerstone of Tsai’s political agenda.
She has been equipping the country with advanced, state-of-the-art precision missiles and high-performance naval vessels and acquiring small, highly mobile weapons that will ensure Taiwan can respond to “external military threats”.