- Sputnik International, 1920, 24.01.2023
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Taiwan President: War 'Not an Option' As Tensions With China Grow While Angling for More US Weapons

© AFP 2023 / SAM YEHTaiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a press conference on the seventh anniversary of her tenure, at the Presidential Office in Taipei on May 20, 2023.
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks during a press conference on the seventh anniversary of her tenure, at the Presidential Office in Taipei on May 20, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.05.2023
Taiwan has been witnessing escalating political divisions ahead of the elections on the island which are slated to take place on January 2024. Furthermore, Washington has been increasing military aid to Taiwan - viewed by Beijing as its province - justifying the move with the "threat" of China's "invasion."
As Washington continues to pump Taiwan with weapons while pushing the narrative of a looming Chinese “invasion”, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen vowed she was determined to keep the peace and the island was intent on maintaining the “status quo” throughout the Taiwan Strait.
“War is not an option. Neither side can unilaterally change the status quo with non-peaceful means. Maintaining the status quo of peace and stability is the consensus for both the world and Taiwan,” Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday.
The Taiwanese leader was giving a speech in Taipei on the occasion of the seventh anniversary since she took office – a period during which tensions between Washington and Beijing have irretrievably worsened.
“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 added.
Ostensibly as part of this risk “defusing”, Taiwan officials are discussing receiving $500Mln of weapons aid from the administration of US President Joe Biden, as Tsai did not fail to mention. Earlier in May, there were reports that Washington was preparing another military package for the island, and to expedite the delivery, it intended to resort to the Presidential Drawdown Authority.
Taiwanese F-16V at the airfield - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.05.2023
US to Reportedly Fast-Track $500 Mln Arms for Taiwan Amid Narrative of China 'Threat'
Whether it is the continuous stream of US weapons to Taiwan, or the "historically significant” deal on the first part of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade, just clinched, China and America remain at loggerheads over the island.
Taiwan, which has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949, is viewed by Beijing as its province, but Taipei - a territory with its own elected government - considers itself an autonomous country but has stopped short of declaring independence. Tsai Ing-wen is gearing up to leave office next year after the presidential election in mid-January. Throughout her stint, which began in 2016, Washington has further expanded its clout in Taiwan. The People's Republic of China (PRC) has also vehemently opposed any official contacts between the island and other countries. In total disregard of China's warnings, the United States has been ramping up its informal diplomatic ties with Taipei in violation of commitments made when it restored diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1979. From the outset, Tsai Ing-wen adopted a strategy of provoking Beijing, with perceived encouragement from Washington. At the time, Donald Trump's administration deepened ties with Taiwan, and his successor, Joe Biden, has repeatedly pledged to protect the island militarily against Beijing.
Although the US does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, it does have a representative office in Taipei and remains the island's biggest supplier of military hardware. When then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early August 2022, an incensed Beijing condemned the trip as a gesture of support for separatism, and held large-scale military exercises in the vicinity of the island in a retaliatory move. Since then, a succession of visits followed, including by US Congressman Michael McCaul, chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, who led a bipartisan delegation of US lawmakers to Taiwan, and was condemned by China for violating the One China principle, thus "sending a wrong signal to Taiwan independence separatist forces."
The present flurry of weapons promised to the island comes ahead of the January 2024 presidential elections, which may potentially see a Kuomintang (KMT) comeback. Amid a slowing Taiwan economy, and after nine diplomatic allies of the island switched sides and turned to Beijing during Tsai's time in office, the KMT is trying to position itself as a force capable of ensuring stability and closer ties with China. Taipei City mayor Hou Yu-ih, who represents Taiwan's main opposition KMT party for the key vote, underscored during an election campaign event that the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name) faces a choice between "peace and war" under Tsai'. He pledged to bolster regional stability through "dialogue and exchanges," adding:
"The fears for war will never drive away the hope for peace."
Supporters of Taiwan's 2020 presidential election candidate for the KMT, or Nationalist Party, Han Kuo-yu pass along a giant Taiwanese flag for the start of a campaign rally in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung city on Friday, Jan 10, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.04.2023
US Speed-Up of Arms Supplies to Taiwan Prior to Island's 2024 Elections Sends Ominous Signal
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала