Taiwan’s New President Defies China, Says She Won’t Bow

The defiant new president of Taiwan has expressed her refusal to succumb to the Chinese government’s pressure and stated that China must now recognize the Taiwanese government as independent.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s statements during her National Day address on Monday, which is bound to upset China, is urging Beijing to engage her government in talks, according to the Associated Press.

Beijing has been insisting that the two countries are part of one Chinese nation, a policy that was seen acceptable by former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou.

China has laid claims to Taiwan as its own territory, and has threatened to use force to control it if necessary. It has attempted to use economic inducements to convince the people of Taiwan that political unification is of their best interests. Taiwan however, elected Tsai in January upending Beijing’s maneuver.

In her speech, Tsai recognized that Taiwan and China’s relations in recent months has not been well.

“But we will not bow to pressure, and we will of course not revert to the old path of confrontation,” she said.

Tsai stressed that China should “face up to the reality” of the existence of the Taiwanese government ands its democracy. She also expressed her willingness and the urgency to “sit down and talk as soon as possible.”

Tsai announced that her government preferred to maintain economic exchanges between the two countries, but as two independent governments. While Taiwanese observers laud Tsai’s defiance, China still seems to be proceeding with its initiatives anyway.

“So far I just don’t see anything happening at this time,” Taiwan’s Fo Guang University public affairs professor Liu Yi-jiun told Time. “(Tsai) really wants her counterparts to sit down and find some solution. That’s something positive. But I don’t think these kinds of words will turn the situation around.”

Tsai also laid out the government’s plans to further bolster the country’s economy and improve opportunities for the youth.

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