The Chinese communist regime claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory and has increased military and diplomatic pressure in the past two years to assert its sovereignty claims.
“We must remind the Beijing authorities to not misjudge the situation and to prevent the internal expansion of ‘military adventurism,'” Tsai said in her New Year’s speech, which was broadcast live on Facebook.
“Taiwan is a de facto independent country, with its own military, democratically elected government, and constitution.”
Taiwan officials have repeatedly vowed to defend its freedom and democracy.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in his New Year’s address on Dec. 31 that the complete unification of “the motherland” is an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. On Jan. 1, after Tsai’s speech, the Chinese regime responded with a stern warning that if Taiwan crossed any red line, it would lead to “profound catastrophe.”
In recent months, Beijing has sent repeated air missions over the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan has said it won’t give in to threats.
“The military is definitely not an option for solving cross-strait disagreements. Military conflicts would impact economic stability,” Tsai said.
To ease tension in the region, both Taipei and Beijing must “work hard to take care of people’s livelihoods and calm the hearts of the people” in order to find peaceful solutions to problems together, she said.
Tsai also said Taiwan would continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong, adding that interference in the recent legislative election and the arrests last week of senior staff at the pro-democracy media outlet Stand News “made people worry even more about human rights and freedom of speech in Hong Kong.”
“We will hold fast to our sovereignty, uphold the values of freedom and democracy, defend territorial sovereignty and national security, and maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Tsai said.