Tsai Ing-wen calls for protection to defend Taiwan's self-rule & way of life from China

China has grown more hostile in recent weeks as domestic problems pile up.

Belmont Lay | January 05, 2019, 06:27 PM

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen is calling for international support to defend the self-ruled island from China.

Tsai's comments on Saturday, Jan. 5, came a few days after Chinese President Xi Jinping said nobody could change the fact that Taiwan was part of China, and both sides will be reunified one day.

After these latest remarks by the Chinese leader, Tsai told reporters in Taipei: "We hope that the international community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us."

Referring to the China's threats to claim Taiwan as its own and questioning what would happen if the international community did not support a democratic country that was under threat, Tsai said "we might have to ask which country might be next?"

Cutting diplomatic ties

In recent years, Beijing has become increasingly assertive over its claims and what it says is a key question of national sovereignty.

Other countries can only have diplomatic ties with China or Taiwan, not both, on China’s insistence.

Beijing has been winning over Taipei’s few international allies to cut diplomatic ties with the island and establish relations with China instead.

Xi's hostile remarks

In recent days, Xi has been using increasingly belligerent rhetoric to address the Taiwan issue, as he faces criticism domestically for his handling of worsening ties with the United States.

This is part of a longer term trend, as he has increased pressure on Taiwan ever since Tsai became president in 2016.

Tsai was elected by the people based on her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party platform, as her predecessor in power cosied up to Beijing and was seen to have compromised Taiwanese democracy and way of life.

Reserve the right to use force

Earlier on Jan. 2, President Xi said China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control, but will strive to achieve peaceful "reunification" with the island.

Then on Jan. 4, he told a meeting of top brass that China's armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that Xi told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs.

Days earlier, United States President Donald Trump signed the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act into law, reaffirming US commitment to the Taiwan's security.