Chinese state newspaper The Global Times slammed Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s National Day speech in which she declared Taiwan would not bow to pressure from China—accusing Tsai of “arrogance.”
During her remarks on Sunday, Tsai said there should be “no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure” from China.
“The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China,” Tsai said. “So I want to remind all my fellow citizens that we do not have the privilege of letting down our guard.”
Tsai said Taiwan is on the frontline of defending democracy.
“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,” Tsai said.
She added: “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.”
Taiwan’s independence has long been an issue between the two nations.
China has offered a “one country, two systems” model of autonomy to Taiwan, which is similar to what it uses with Hong Kong.
However, all major Taiwanese parties have rejected the model—especially after China’s security crackdown in Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
China has previously criticized Tsai as a separatist who refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China.” Beijing does not recognize Taiwan’s government, and Tsai says Taiwan is an independent country called the Republic of China and has declined to compromise on defending its sovereignty.
In the Sunday editorial, The Global Times hit back.
“What the DPP is doing is a fundamental betrayal, and this shares the same origins of their rejection of Chinese identity,” the editorial read, referring to Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party.
“The DPP administration has abandoned its right to strategic adjustment and thrown itself into a political gamble that has only short-term benefits and no chance of winning in the long run.”
The editorial board wrote the DPP does not have the authority to overturn the “one-China” policy, the party’s rhetoric is “nonsense by international standards” and that “the whole world” knows China is serious about its goal of reunification.
“In the face of the historical trend of China’s eventual reunification, what is happening on the island today is just provisional games.”
The editorial also said: “This year, Tsai’s remarks were even tougher than her previous ones…In the past, Tsai would use the word ‘China’ along with the terms ‘the mainland’ and ‘the other side of the Straits’ when referring to the Chinese mainland. This time, she only used ‘China,’ and this shows an unprecedented arrogance.”
Tsai’s speech comes as tensions have mounted after China conducted military flights near Taiwan that the U.S. has criticized as “provocative.”
Taiwan’s premier, Su Tseng-chang, told reporters: “China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace.”
The U.S. voiced concern about the military activity, warning it “is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on October 3, doubling down on the “rock solid” commitment to Taiwan.
On Saturday, Chinese officials attacked former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who voiced concern on Friday that China could “lash out disastrously very soon” over Taiwan.
“His recent despicable and insane performance in Taiwan fully exposed his hideous anti-China features. This will only further discredit him,” the Chinese embassy in Australia said, blasting Abbott as a “failed and pitiful politician.”
Ahead of a Wednesday meeting between French senators and Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying warned that “China firmly opposes all forms of official contact and exchanges between certain French congressmen and the Taiwan authorities.”
The Chinese Embassy in France warned the meeting could not only undermine Chinese-French relations but also hurt France’s “reputation and interests.”
Newsweek reached out to Tsai’s office for comment Sunday morning but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.