Taipei: Taiwan will not succumb to Beijing’s pressure and defend its democratic life, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Sunday, following increased infiltration by Chinese warplanes into its air defense sector.
Self-ruled Taiwan’s 23 million people live under constant threat of invasion by authoritarian China, which sees the island as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize it by force if necessary.
“The more we achieve, the more pressure we face from China,” Tsai said in a speech on Taiwan’s National Day.
He described Taiwan as “standing on the first line of defense of democracy”.
“We look forward to easing relations (with Beijing) and will not act in haste, but there should be no illusion that the Taiwanese people will succumb to pressure,” he said.
The two sides have been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.
Tensions reached their highest level in decades under Chinese President Xi Jinping, who broke official communication with Taipei after Tsai’s election five years ago and increased economic, diplomatic and military pressure.
Flights by Chinese fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers have erupted in Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
In the days surrounding China’s own National Day on October 1, about 150 flights were made to the zone – a record number.
According to Taiwan’s defense ministry, three Chinese aircraft, including two fighter jets, entered the area on Sunday.