Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen celebrated the New Year with a message to China that military conflict is not the answer.
“We should remind the Beijing authorities not to misjudge the situation and to avoid the internal expansion of ‘military adventurism,'” Tsai said Saturday in his New Year address broadcast live on Facebook.
China claims to have democratically governed Taiwan as its territory and has increased military and diplomatic pressure over the past two years to enforce its claims to sovereignty.
In Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Year’s address the day before, he said the complete unification of the “mother country” was an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Taiwan claims to be an independent country and has repeatedly pledged to defend its freedom and democracy.
“The military is certainly not an option to resolve differences across the Straits. Military conflicts will affect economic stability,” Tsai said. The two sides jointly bear the responsibility of maintaining regional peace and stability.”
Tsai said Taiwan’s stance has always been “not to succumb to pressure and not to rush forward when receiving support.”
To ease tensions in the region, Tsai said, both Taipei and Beijing should “work hard to take care of people’s livelihoods and soothe people’s hearts” in order to find peaceful solutions to problems together.
Tsai also said Taiwan would continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong, adding that interference in the recent legislative elections and this week’s arrests of top officials at the pro-democracy media outlet Stand News “have made people more concerned about human rights and freedom than the rhetoric in Hong Kong.”
Tsai said stable governance is the most important goal for Taiwan in 2022.
“We will maintain our sovereignty, we will defend the values of freedom and democracy, we will maintain territorial sovereignty and national security, and we will maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”
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