WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday said that Taiwan is boosting its defenses against a possible Chinese invasion but also asked for a “meaningful dialogue” with Beijing.
- Chinese-backed media Global Times has accused Tsai of deceiving the world and wanting to gain public sympathy.
- As tensions grow in recent months, Beijing is claiming ownership of Taiwan and has pledged to take over the island by force if diplomacy is far-fetched.
On Saturday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that the country is boosting its defenses from a potential Chinese invasion. She also called for a “meaningful dialogue” with China, as it claims Taiwan as its own territory.
On her recently assumed second term as the leader of the pro-independence, liberal Democratic Progressive Party, Tsai gave a diplomatic speech commemorating the country’s National Day.
Her speech came following a month of Chinese military drills in the Taiwan Strait, the 180-kilometer strait which divides the two nations.
Tsai said on Saturday that the Taiwanese government “will not act rashly” and was “committed to upholding cross-Straits stability.”
The Democratic leader said that she is “willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue”
Despite various issues — such as the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese suppression of pro-democracy activists in Hongkong, continuous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, and the like — Tsai said that she is “willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue.”
Even with a conciliatory tone, Chinese-state media criticized Tsai’s address, disregarding Taiwan’s appeal to diplomacy.
Global Times newspaper, owned by the People’s Daily newspaper, which is the official publication of the Chinese Communist Party, said that Tsai attempted to deceive the world in her address, and announced that the threat of war was growingly visible in recent months.
In an editorial published on Sunday, the Global Times said that the situation between the two nations “has been seriously deteriorating.”
The newspaper accused the Taiwanese president of “utilizing the idea of facilitating dialogue as an ‘olive branch’ as a delaying tactic, attempting to deceive the international community for sympathy,” and dismissed her administration as “a gaggle of opportunistic politicians.”
The Chinese state-owned media also posted a video of a recent amphibious military drill in the Taiwan Strait. It highlighted that exercise as evidence of “the mainland’s strong capability and firm will against Taiwan secessionists and push for reunification.”
Based on the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the US is committed to aiding Taiwan in its defense against the Chinese invasion. Last week, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that the Taiwanese should “turn themselves into a porcupine” since “lions generally don’t like to eat porcupines,” referring to the rising conflicts.
Citing its “One China” policy, Beijing is claiming ownership of Taiwan and has pledged to take over the island by force should negotiations not push through. Officially known as the Republic of China, Taiwan has been independent from Beijing since the end of the Chinese Civil War in the 1950s.