Tsai: Won’t escalate tensions but won’t give in

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President Tsai Ing-wen addresses Taiwan at this year's National Day celebration. (Photo by CNA)

President Tsai Ing-wen says she will not escalate tension across the Taiwan Strait, nor will she bow to pressure from China as either way will only make things worse. Tsai made the remarks in her National Day address on Monday.

President Tsai said the changing international landscape over the past year means the government is looking for opportunities within these challenges and for Taiwan’s optimal strategic position.

Tsai accused China of destabilizing the cross-strait status quo with a diplomatic offensive combined with military coercion. She said, “The best way to defend Taiwan is to make it indispensable and irreplaceable to the world. The people of Taiwan will never accept any attempt by external forces to unilaterally change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. And the international community will never approve of and support the violation of universal values.”

The president said her government would not seek to provoke tensions with China, nor allow itself to be provoked into conflict. But neither would Taiwan capitulate to China on matters of sovereignty, she said.

“As president, I want to assure everyone that we will neither act rashly to escalate confrontation, nor will we give in. I will not be provoked into confrontation or conflicts that endanger cross-strait relations, nor will I deviate from the will of the people, and sacrifice Taiwan’s sovereignty. In a world of dramatic change, we will not misjudge the situation. Escalating conflicts or giving in will only make things worse,” said Tsai.

Tsai said Taiwan’s most important task is to strengthen national security, economy, and the social safety net. She said her administration will continue to make Taiwan stronger, and irreplaceable in the global community.