Armed conflict with China not an option, says Taiwanese president

Armed conflict with China is “absolutely not an option”, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said on the occasion of the Taiwan National Day celebration.

She also stressed her desire to talk with Beijing and, simultaneously, strengthen Taiwan’s defense forces.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have reached an all-time high since early August, when US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. Despite warnings from the Chinese authorities, she went ahead with her plan and traveled to Taiwan. Since then, many US officials have also visited the self-proclaimed island nation.

In addition, Tsai expressed concern that China has stepped up its intimidation and threatened peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and its region.

She said China should not underestimate Taiwan or believe there is room for compromise in its people’s dedication to democracy and freedom.

“I want to make it clear to the leaders sitting in Beijing that armed conflict is not an option for our two sides but only recognizing the Taiwanese people’s commitment to our sovereignty, democracy and freedom, which can be a basis for resume constructive dialogue across the Taiwan Strait,” she added.

According to her, Taiwan is increasing the production of precise missiles and high-performance navy ships. She also said the Taiwanese administration was looking to import small, transportable weapons to ensure the island is fully equipped to respond to external military threats.

However, Beijing, which claims to democratically run Taiwan as one of its provinces, has long vowed to take control of the island state and has not ruled out using force to do so. The Taiwanese administration strongly opposes China’s claims of sovereignty over Taiwan and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its fate.

China has offered Taiwan a “one nation, two systems” model of autonomy comparable to that of Hong Kong, but all of Taiwan’s major political parties have rejected it.