Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday said Taiwan will do whatever it takes to defend its freedom amid heightened tensions with Beijing following incursions by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defence zone.
Speaking at the Yushan Forum, a platform for Asian regional dialogue that is this year themed on security, Tsai said Taiwan is fully committed to collaborating with regional players to prevent armed conflict.
“Taiwan does not seek military confrontation,” Tsai told the forum, attended by a number of international speakers representing 10 countries.
“It hopes for a peaceful, stable, predictable and mutually-beneficial coexistence with its neighbours. But Taiwan will also do whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life,” Tsai said.
Speaking at the same event, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott noted the strong US commitment to Taiwan.
“I don’t think America could stand by and watch Taiwan swallowed up. I don’t think Australia should be indifferent to the fate of a fellow democracy of almost 25 million people,” Abbott told the forum.
“That’s why Taiwan’s friends are so important now: to stress that Taiwan’s future should be decided by its own people; and to let Beijing know that any attempt at coercion would have incalculable consequences,” Abbott said.
Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-governing democratic island part of its territory.