Tsai demands Beijing ‘act with reason’ in Taiwan Strait

Beijing, Aug 5 (EFE).- Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has described China’s “irrational” live-fire military drills and missile launches around the island as an “irresponsible” act that fuels tensions in the Indo-Pacific and demanded it “act with reason” and restraint.

In a video message released by the presidential office on Thursday night, the first since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei on Wednesday, Tsai said the situation “not only undermines the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and encroaches upon our nation’s sovereignty.”

“It also creates high tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, as part of which air and maritime transportation safety, as well as the normal functioning of international trade, are all coming under unprecedented threat,” she added.

“We solemnly call upon China to act with reason and exercise restraint.”

She said Taiwan would not contribute to the escalation of tensions but would defend its “sovereignty and security as a bulwark of democracy and freedom.”

Tsai assured that her government is working to ensure the security of operations at the island’s ports and airports, as well as the stability of the financial markets, and asked the population to remain alert to possible Chinese cyberattacks and “information warfare operations.”

In addition, the president urged the international community to support Taiwan’s democracy and to jointly confront Beijing’s military response, which she described as “unilateral and irrational.”

In her four-minute speech, Tsai also stressed that Taiwan seeks to work with international democratic allies to “uphold peace” in the Indo-Pacific region.

Less than 24 hours after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, considered by China a provocation, the Asian giant began military exercises with live fire that caused the closure of maritime and air space in six areas around the island, one of them about 20 kilometers from the coast of Kaohsiung, the main city in southern Taiwan.

The exercises will last until Sunday, according to Chinese state media.

During the last three days, Taipei has also reported incursions by Chinese military aircraft into its self-defined Air Defense Identification Zone, some of which would have crossed the middle line of the strait.

The Chinese maneuvers have caused numerous delays and cancellations in both air and sea routes.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has not ruled out use of force to achieve “reunification.”

For this reason, the Asian giant has considered Pelosi’s visit a provocation and a “betrayal” by Washington that challenges the international status-quo regarding the island and the “one China” principle advocated by Beijing. EFE


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