Tsai Ing-wen has reiterated Taiwan’s determination to combat China’s “increasingly aggressive” attempts to bring Taiwan under their influence in an essay published on Tuesday. Taiwan will “do whatever it takes to defend itself” against expansionism from Beijing, following a record number of Chinese planes entering Taiwan’s airspace this week. This essay will catch the attention of US President Joe Biden, after Washington called out China for “provocative” and “destabilising” activity on Monday.
A US State Department spokesperson said: “The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilising, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability.”
Taiwan, which views itself as a sovereign state, has told China to stop “irresponsible provocative actions”.
Just in October, China has sent almost 150 planes into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
In the essay, Tsai Ing-wen appeals to the role of Taiwan in constraining China’s growing influence.
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It has been an issue playing on the minds of Western world leaders in recent weeks, with the new AUKUS partnership between the USA, UK and Australia held up by many as a counteracting measure to China’s expansionism.
The AUKUS pact was condemned by China as a display of a “Cold War mentality” amidst frosty US-Chinese diplomatic relations.
Drawing on the cool relationship between the Chinese Communist party and Washington, Ms Tsai positions Taiwan as a bastion of stability and democracy in the Indo-Pacific region.
Her words echoed much of the rhetoric issued around the AUKUS pact when it was announced last month
She cautioned: “They should remember that if Taiwan were to fall, the consequences would be catastrophic for regional peace and the democratic alliance system.
“It would signal that in today’s global contest of values, authoritarianism has the upper hand over democracy.”
Ms Tsai went on to stress that Beijing had not relented in its desire to dominate Taiwan, and had “markedly increased” its efforts to retake the island which they see as part of Chinese territory.
Whilst Taiwan does “not seek military confrontation,” according to Ms Tsai, it will do “whatever it takes to defend itself” if its “democracy and way of life are threatened.”
This follows a cautioning statement from Australia towards China prompted by increased plane incursions in close proximity to Taiwan.
The Australian government in Canberra voiced concerns about the “threat or use of force” by China to extend their influence in Taiwan.
They reiterated their desire for “an Indo-Pacific region that is secure, prosperous and based on the rule of law”.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “Australia is concerned by China’s increased air incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone over the past week.
“Resolution of differences over Taiwan and other regional issues must be achieved peacefully through dialogue and without the threat or use of force or coercion.”
Very few countries currently formally recognise Taiwan, yet Ms Tsai puts forward the argument that their links and various ties with countries across the globe make Taiwan a crucial pillar of democracy in the region.
She wrote: “Long left out in the cold, Taiwan is ready to be a global force for good, with a role on the international stage that is commensurate with its abilities.”