On the seventh anniversary of her presidential term, President Tsai Ing-wen said she would maintain peace amid rising tensions with China. Taiwan is headed for a presidential election next year.
President Tsai Ing-wen made a firm commitment Saturday to uphold the current state of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, amid rising tensions with China.
"In the face of China's civil attacks and military threats, the people of Taiwan are calm and not aggressive, rational and not provocative," she said during a speech in the presidential office in Taipei, commemorating her seventh year in office.
"War is not an option, and neither party can unilaterally change the status quo in a non-peaceful manner," she added.
Taiwan a 'responsible risk manager' amid Chinese pressure
Tsai asserted that Taiwan would neither provoke nor succumb to Chinese pressure. She said that during her tenure, residents have shown the world "Taiwan's determination to defend itself."
"Although Taiwan is surrounded by risks, it is by no means a risk maker. We are a responsible risk manager and Taiwan will stand together with democratic countries and communities around the world to jointly defuse the risks," Tsai said.
The Chinese government has been intensifying its military pressure on the democratically governed island, which Beijing claims as its own territory.
The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, who are gathered for a summit in Hiroshima, Japan, expressed their commitment to seeking a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue, as per a statement by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Tsai revealed that Taiwan officials are currently in discussions with US President Joe Biden's administration regarding $500 million (€461 million) worth of weapons aid, which aims to address delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She underscored the global significance of Taiwan's supply chain, which plays a crucial role in producing advanced semiconductor chips, and vowed to retain the nation's leading-edge chip technologies and research and development centers.
Taiwan gearing up for hot presidential race
Ahead of a key presidential election scheduled for January 2024, Taiwan is bracing itself for further aggression actions from China, with cross-strait relations at the top of the campaign agenda. Due to term limits, Tsai will not be standing for reelection.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih, representing Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party in the election, stated on Saturday that the choice facing Taiwan under Tsai's leadership is between "peace and war." He pledged to preserve regional stability through "dialogue and exchanges."
In response, Tsai emphasized that all political parties in Taiwan should reach a consensus on maintaining peace and cautioned against exploiting the fear of war for electoral gains. Taiwan Vice President William Lai, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, will be running in the presidential election against Hou.