Taiwan president says war is not an option amid tensions with China

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen vowed on Saturday to maintain the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions with China, which is mounting military pressure on democratically ruled Taiwan. rice field.

In a speech at the presidential palace in Taipei on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of her rule, Tsai said Taiwan would not provoke China or yield to Chinese pressure.

China considers Taiwan its own and has threatened to bring the island under its control if necessary, and since the Tsai administration took office in 2016, it has used military force to force the island to recognize China’s sovereignty. increasing diplomatic pressure.

The Chinese government has rejected calls for a meeting with Tsai on the grounds that she is a separatist. Tsai has repeatedly pledged to defend Taiwan’s freedom and democracy.

“War is not an option. Neither side can unilaterally change the status quo through non-peaceful means,” Tsai said. “Maintaining the status quo of peace and stability is the consensus of the world and Taiwan.”

“Taiwan is surrounded by risks, but it is by no means a risk maker. We are responsible risk managers, and Taiwan will work with democracies and communities around the world to jointly eliminate risks,” he said. ‘ said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who will host the G7 summit in Hiroshima, said Friday that the leaders of the wealthy nations of the Group of Seven (G7) have agreed to seek a peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue.

Tsai said Taiwanese officials are in talks with the administration of US President Joe Biden about transferring $500 million worth of funds. arms aid It added that the aid was meant to address delayed arms deliveries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stressed the global importance of Taiwan’s supply chain, which produces most of the world’s advanced semiconductor chips, and vowed to keep Taiwan’s cutting-edge chip technology and R&D centers in Taiwan.

Taiwan is gearing up for a pivotal presidential election in mid-January, and tensions with China are expected to be a top priority in the campaign.

New Taipei City Mayor Hou Youying, on behalf of the main opposition Nationalist Party in mid-January, said on Saturday that Taiwan faces a choice of “peace or war” under Tsai’s government and vowed to maintain regional stability. Through unspecified “dialogues and exchanges”.

“The fear of war will never give up hope for peace,” Hou said at a campaign launch event in Taipei, vowing to defend Taiwan’s official name, the Republic of China.

Mr. Hou is at odds with Taiwanese Vice President William Lai of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.

The Kuomintang, which supports closer ties with China, sees the 2024 vote as a choice between war or peace.

Asked at the presidential office about the opposition’s stance on the election, Tsai said maintaining peace should be the consensus of all political parties in Taiwan and should not “sell the horror of war for election gain.” .

Reported by Imou Lee.Editing: Jacqueline Wong

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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