Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen vowed on Saturday to maintain the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, amid simmering tensions with China as it ramps up military pressure on the democratically-ruled island.
In a speech delivered from the presidential office in Taipei on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of her accession to power, Tsai said that Taiwan will not be provoked and will not succumb to Chinese pressure.
Since Tsai took power in 2016, China has intensified its military and diplomatic pressure to force the island to accept Chinese sovereignty, as Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and threatens to subjugate it to its control by force if necessary.
Beijing has rejected Tsai’s invitations for talks.
Tsai has repeatedly vowed to defend Taiwan’s freedom and democracy, saying, “War is not an option. Neither side can unilaterally change the status quo by non-peaceful means… Maintaining the status quo of peace and stability is the consensus of the world and Taiwan.”
On May 8, Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuching announced that his country is expecting a $500 million arms package from Washington this year, to make up for delays in arms purchases.
“The use of the $500 million package is intended to prioritize providing us with immediate goods (available for immediate delivery), after any delay in the delivery of our weapons procurement,” Qiu told lawmakers, in response to a question about the “military aid” package.
G7 is seeking a solution
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday that the leaders of the Group of Seven countries agreed to seek a peaceful solution to issues related to Taiwan.
On Wednesday, former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, during a visit to Taiwan, criticized the West for its indulgence with Beijing and criticized the policies of her country’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, while China condemned the visit, saying it “will only harm the United Kingdom.”
The Conservative prime minister, who stayed in power for 50 days last year, supports adopting a firm speech towards Beijing, and wants Sunak to consider China a strategic “threat” to the United Kingdom.
Taiwan is preparing for important presidential elections, in mid-January, and the tension with China is at the forefront of the electoral campaign.
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