Taiwanese will not bow to pressure from China, said President Caj Ing-wen on Sunday, speaking on the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the Sinhai revolution that led to the establishment of the Republic of China. Her speech was strongly condemned by the authorities in Beijing, saying that it “incited a confrontation”.
In Taiwan, the anniversary of the beginning of the revolution on October 10 is celebrated as a national holiday. There were many celebrations on Sunday. In Taipei, in addition to the president’s speech, you could also watch a military parade.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping also gave a speech in Beijing on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the start of the Sinhai Revolution. He then stated that “the Taiwanese question is only an internal Chinese problem and no outside interference is unacceptable.”
Maintaining the status quo
– I would like to repeat once again that Taiwan is ready to make its contribution to the peaceful development of the situation in the region. Our position on relations in the (Taiwan) Strait remains the same: neither our goodwill nor our obligations will change. We call for the status quo to be maintained and we will do our best to prevent a unilateral change to the current state, said Caj.
– We are counting on the improvement of relations in the Strait and we will not act rashly, but no one should have any illusions: the Taiwanese will not bow to pressure – she added.
Caj also talked about further strengthening Taiwan’s national defense and demonstrating its determination to defend itself so that no one could force Taiwan to follow the path that China set out for that region. “This is because the path China has chosen for us offers neither a free, democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million citizens,” said Caj. – I also want to emphasize that resolving differences in the Strait requires dialogue from both sides in a spirit of equality – she added. This is not the first such declaration. Since taking power, President Caj has repeatedly declared openness to dialogue with the government in Beijing.
The Will of the Taiwanese
The mood of the people of Taiwan is clearly visible in a survey conducted annually by the Chengchi National University’s Election Research Center. In 2021, only one percent of the population wanted immediate reunification with China, 28.2 percent were in favor of maintaining the status quo and deciding later, 27.5 percent were in favor of maintaining the status quo permanently, and almost 26 percent were in favor of maintaining the status quo, but while striving for independence.
In Taiwanese society, the will to maintain the current state seems to be maintained as long as possible, with the growing desire for independence in the long run.
Taiwan’s ADIZ Violations by China
– The regional order in the South China and East China Seas is being questioned. The routinization of Chinese military activity in Taiwan’s Southwestern Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety – these were the words on Sunday that the Taiwanese president commented on China’s increased violations of Taiwan’s ADIZ recently.
This zone stayed last week violated 150 times by military planes of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (ChAL-W), including Shenyang J-16 and SU-30 fighters, and Xian H-6 bombers capable of carrying nuclear warheads. On Monday, the existing record of entries was broken, when in one day there were 56 ChAL-W planes in ADIZ.
– Democratic countries are working to strengthen our wide-ranging cooperation to respond to developments in the region and the world. G7, NATO, EU, QUAD emphasized the importance of peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, while expressing concern that China may unilaterally undermine the status quo of peace and threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific region, Caj emphasized.
The Chinese authorities sharply criticized President Caj’s speech on Sunday. “Taiwan’s pursuit of independence closes the door to dialogue,” said the Chinese Taiwan Office in a press release.
“The independence provocation of the Democratic Party of Progress is a source of tensions and turmoil in mutual relations and is the greatest threat to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait,” Chinese authorities said, referring to the ruling party in Taiwan.
Taiwan has remained politically separate since 1949, when the Republic of China forces and its government withdrew to the island after the communists took power in mainland China. Communist Beijing has never come to terms with this state of affairs and invariably considers Taiwan a province of China.
Main photo source: RITCHIE B. TONGO / PAP / EPA