Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is vowing to defend the self-ruled island against China’s growing assertiveness.
During her annual National Day address Wednesday, President Tsai said Taiwan would increase its defense budget annually and further develop its domestic defense industries, especially towards the building of new submarines and advance training aircraft.
China broke off relations with Taiwan after Tsai, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016 and refused to accept Beijing’s long-standing “One China” principle, under which Taiwan is a part of the mainland.
Tsai said Taiwan is not seeking confrontation, but will not willingly submit to Beijing’s aggression.
Beijing has ramped up pressure on the island in recent months, carrying out numerous military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, blocking Taipei’s participation in international organizations, and persuading several nations to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China.
China and Taiwan split after the 1949 civil war when Chaing Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces were driven off the mainland by Mao Zedong’s Communists and sought refuge on Taiwan. Beijing is opposed to Taiwan ever declaring independence, and has threatened use force to reunify the island with the mainland.