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Taiwan's Prez Tsai says no backing down to aggressive threats from China

Taiwan won't back down in the face of aggressive threats from China, the president of the self-governing island democracy Tsai Ing-wen said

Tsai Ing-wen

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. (Photo: Twitter)

AP Taipei (Taiwan)
Taiwan won't back down in the face of aggressive threats from China, the president of the self-governing island democracy Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday, comparing growing pressure from Beijing to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Tsai's comments follow the conclusion of the twice-a-decade congress of China's Communist Party at which it upped its long-standing threat to annex the island it considers its own territory by force if necessary.
The party added a line into its constitution on resolutely opposing and deterring Taiwan's independence resolutely implementing the policy of one country, two systems,'" the formula by which it plans to govern the island in future.
The blueprint has already been put in place in the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has seen its democratic system, civil liberties and judicial independence decimated.
Speaking to an international gathering of pro-democracy activists in Taipei, Tsai said democracies and liberal societies were facing the greatest host of challenges since the Cold War.
Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is a prime example. It shows an authoritarian regime will do whatever it takes to achieve expansionism," Tsai said.
The people of Taiwan are all too familiar with such aggression. In recent years, Taiwan has been confronted by increasingly aggressive threats from China," she said, listing military intimidation, cyber attacks and economic coercion among them.
The rising Chinese threat has spurred calls on Taiwan for additional defense investments and a lengthening of the term of national service required of all Taiwanese men.
However, even under constant threats, the people of Taiwan have never shied away from the challenges" and have fought to work against authoritarian forces looking to undermine their democratic way of life, Tsai said.
Tsai was speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Movement for Democracy's Steering Committee, which is chaired by 2021 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949 and Taipei enjoys strong U.S. military and political support, despite the lack of formal military ties.
Despite having just 14 official diplomatic allies, Taiwan has drawn increasing backing from major nations, including Japan, Australia, the U.S., Canada and across Europe.
A recent visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enraged Beijing, which responded with military exercises seen as a rehearsal of a blockade of the island.
On Monday, Tsai met with a German parliamentary delegation focusing on human rights, who expressed concern about how Taiwan would handle threats from China.
Taiwan is really facing military threats, delegation head Peter Heidt said. From Germany's point of view, changes to the cross-strait status quo, if any, must be based on peaceful means. Also, these changes must be made after both sides have reached a consensus.
Also on Tuesday, Taiwanese Premier You Si-kun was meeting with Ukrainian lawmaker Kira Rudik and Lithuanian politician Zygimantas Pavilionis. Taiwan has strongly condemned the Russian invasion and at least one Taiwanese citizen is reportedly fighting with Ukrainian forces.
The Ukrainian conflict has focused new attention on if and when China might launch military action against Taiwan, given that a solid majority of Taiwanese reject Beijing's calls for peaceful reunification."

A full-scale invasion across the 160-kilometer (100-mile) -wide Taiwan Strait remains a daunting prospect for China despite its recent massive military expansion, especially in its naval and missile forces.
However, Chinese leader Xi Jinping's securing of another five-year term in office has some observers speculating he may be looking to move up the schedule for bringing Taiwan under China's control.
Among personnel changes at China's congress that concluded Saturday, Gen. He Weidong was elevated to second vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. He was formerly head of the Eastern Theater Command, which would be primarily responsible for operations against Taiwan should hostilities break out.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 25 2022 | 12:03 PM IST

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