Beijing can’t force Taiwan to take China’s path: Tsai

Shanghai, China, Oct 10 (EFE).- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen demanded Sunday that the island’s defences be strengthened to show “no one can force Taiwan to take the path that China has chosen” for a territory claimed by Beijing, which considers it a rebellious province.

In her speech during Taiwan’s National Day the leader said Beijing “offers neither a free and democratic lifestyle for Taiwan nor sovereignty for its 23 million people” in the vision that Chinese authorities are posing for what they call “reunification.”

Tsai’s message comes a day after Chinese President Xi Jinping said China “can and will achieve” reunification with Taiwan. Setting aside the threat of force – he spoke of “basic principles of ‘peaceful reunification” and offering integration into the mainland under the framework of ‘one country, two systems’ applied in Macau and Hong Kong, guaranteeing limited autonomy.

The offer did not appeal to Taiwanese authorities, with Tsai highlighting Beijing’s increasingly control over Hong Kong in response to the 2019 protests and the latest political changes.

“After taking complete control of Hong Kong and suppressing pro-democracy activists, the Beijing authorities have also moved away from the path of political and economic development that began decades ago,” she said.

Tsai said that “in no way should there be the impression that the Taiwanese will give in to [Beijing’s] pressure.”

The president demanded that the future of Taiwan “be decided according to the will of the Taiwanese” after speaking of a renewed commitment to democracy and freedom or resistance to annexation or invasion attempts.

About relations with Beijing – which, according to the Taiwanese Defense Minister, are going through “their worst moment in 40 years” – Tsai said there have been no changes in Taiwan’s position.

“We demand to maintain the ‘status quo,’ We will do our best to ensure that it is not unilaterally altered,” she said.

“To resolve the differences (with China), it is necessary for both parties to enter into a dialogue based on equality,” said the politician, in office since 2016.

Despite this move, Tsai said Taiwan “is in a more complex and variable situation than at any other time in the last 72 years,” that is, since Kuomintang nationalists lost the civil war against the communists and withdrew to the island, where they established today’s state. This finally carried out a transition to democracy in the 1990s.

Despite these changes and the “alert of the expansion of authoritarianism”, the president said “more and more democratic friends are willing to stand up in favor” of Taiwan, highlighting the progress of relations with Japan, the United States or the European Union.

“In Washington, Tokyo, Canberra and Brussels, Taiwan is no longer on the sidelines. (…) Taiwan is no longer seen as the ‘orphan of Asia,’ but as an island of resistance that can face challenges with courage,” Tsai said.

The president said the success of Taiwan – a leader in key industries such as semiconductors and one of the territories that has best controlled the pandemic – also has other consequences.

“The more we achieve, the more pressure we face from China. (…) We do not have the privilege of being able to lower our guard,” she said. EFE


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