Tsai Vows to Defend Taiwan, Calls for Dialogue With China

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen called for dialogue with Beijing while vowing to defend the island in the face of Chinese intimidation.

“I believe regional tension can be resolved,” Tsai said in an address to a couple of thousand people at a national day event in Taipei on Saturday. “We are willing to facilitate meaningful dialogue.”

Beijing cut off communication with Taipei shortly after Tsai took office for her first term in 2016. China’s Communist Party has since ramped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, which it claims but has never ruled.

While offering an olive branch, Tsai also vowed to enhance Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.

“We are aware that showing weakness and making concessions will not bring peace,” she said.

Tsai praised Taiwan’s effective handling of the global coronavirus pandemic, emphasizing the unified response of government, industry and society and its importance to national security. Only seven people have died in Taiwan since the first case was reported in Jan. 21.

Describing 2020 as a “generational opportunity” for Taiwan, Tsai outlined her economic plan for the near term in which Taiwanese businesses would accelerate supply-chain restructuring andreshoring back from China. Additional goals included making Taiwan a capital, talent and technology hub as well as addressing domestic economic inequality.

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