Taiwan Showcases Military Capabilities, President Promises Never Bow to Chinese Threat

By Prakash Gogoi | October 15, 2021
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Members of a Taiwan military honour guard march to celebrate the island's National Day.
Members of a Taiwan military honour guard march to celebrate the island's National Day. (Image: PATRICK LIN/AFP via Getty Images)

During Taiwan’s National Day Celebrations on Oct. 10, President Tsai Ing-wen promised the people that she would fight communist China’s escalating pressure to annex the island nation. Her statements come after the communist regime has sent more planes recently intruding into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in a show of intimidation. The celebrations featured a parade showing Taiwan’s defense capabilities.  

“We will do our utmost to prevent the status quo from being unilaterally altered…  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 in her speech. The path offered by communist China is “neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”

The Taiwanese President is overseeing the modernization of the island nation’s military prowess. That initiative includes building indigenous submarines and developing long-range missiles capable of striking deep into Chinese territory, for example.

During her speech, Tsai said that though her government would not “act rashly,” there shouldn’t be any illusions that the Taiwanese people “will bow to pressure.”

The annual parade displayed a wide range of weaponry, armored vehicles, and missile launchers. Fighter jets and helicopters flew overhead the crowds. This was followed by a squad of CM32 tanks and trucks loaded with state-of-the-art missile systems.

Apart from the military display, the parade also featured Taiwanese Olympic medal winners from the Tokyo summer games and public health officials.

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from Hong Kong, called President Tsai’s speech “defiant.” He said that the speech reflected the “prevailing view in Taiwan at the moment, where the majority of the people are equally resistant to the increase in pressure from mainland China.”

Communist China quickly responded to the Taiwanese President’s comments, accusing her of distorting facts and inciting confrontation. China’s Taiwan Affairs office mentioned that any pursuit of independence closes the door to dialogue. 

Communist China is also upset by reports that U.S. military forces have been stationed in Taiwan to boost the island nation’s defenses. The deployment has existed for over a year. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian asked the U.S. states to recognize the “high sensitivity” of the issue and halt military contact with Taiwan. He warned that Beijing will take “all necessary measures” to protect what it perceives to be Chinese territory. The CCP believes that Taiwan is simply a breakaway province that should be reunified with the mainland even by the use of force.

U.S. lawmakers have applauded the deployment. “I think it’s a good thing for us to show support for the folks of Taiwan and to show China that we mean business and hands off Taiwan,” Iowa Senator Joni Ernst told the Washington Examiner. Ernst is the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Special Operations Command. Republican Senator Rick Scott also supported the deployment, warning that Chinese President Xi Jinping “is into world domination.”

In a recent article at Foreign Affairs, Tsai had called on the international community to support Taiwan, recognizing its value as a democratic nation in contrast to the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party. She warned that if Taiwan were to fall into communist China’s hands, it would be “catastrophic” for the idea of democracy since it would mean that authoritarianism has an “upper hand.”