Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Sunday said that Taiwan would not bow to pressure from China to submit to its rule as Beijing ramps up pressure on the island.
Tsai made the declaration while speaking at a National Day rally, Reuters reported. She said that she hoped for tensions to ease and said Taiwan would not "act rashly."
"But there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure," said Tsai. "We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us,"
"This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people," she continued.
During a speech on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed that there would be a “peaceful reunification” between Taiwan and China.
"Taiwan independence separatism is the biggest obstacle to achieving the reunification of the motherland, and the most serious hidden danger to national rejuvenation," he said.
China has ramped up its military provocations of Taiwan in recent months, sending dozens of military aircrafts toward Taiwan on a nearly-daily basis. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. troops had been training Taiwanese forces for the past year, which China spoke out against on Friday.
Reuters noted that China has offered a "one country, two systems" to Taiwan. However, this offer has been rejected by Taiwanese political parties who point to China's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China. So I want to remind all my fellow citizens that we do not have the privilege of letting down our guard," Tsai said on Sunday.