Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said Sunday the self-governing island would continue with its “democratic way of life” and never “bow to pressure” from China’s government, per the BBC.
Why it matters: Tsai’s declaration on Taiwan’s National Day came one day after China’s President Xi Jinping vowed to achieve “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan.
Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.
Driving the news: Xi said that the biggest barrier to potential reunification with China was the “Taiwan independence” force, adding “those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good,” CNN notes.
Xi said he sought peaceful reunification under a “one country two systems” policy, an offer that Taiwan’s presidential office staunchly opposes, Reuters reports.
What they’re saying: Tsai announced in her speech plans to strengthen the island’s defenses, noting the record 145 fighter Chinese military planes that entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone last week, according to the BBC.
Tsai, who was reelected by a landslide last year after pledging to stand up for Taiwan’s democracy, reiterated her offer for peace talks with Chinese government leaders, which has so far been rejected.
Taipei China-policy-making Mainland Affairs Council urged Beijing on Saturday to “abandon its provocative steps of intrusion, harassment and destruction,” per Reuters.
Background: Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately for more than seven decades, but the mainland government viewed it as a breakaway province that must be brought to heel.
Of note: In an exclusive, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that U.S. forces have been secretly training military forces in Taiwan for more than a year amid increasing concerns over Chinese aggression.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with comment from Tsai.
Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.