In a world marked by geopolitical tensions and power struggles, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen delivered a resounding message on Taiwan’s National Day, October 10, 2023: Peace between Taiwan and China is not just a hope but the only viable option. Standing in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, President Tsai addressed the nation and the international community, emphasizing the imperative of maintaining stability in the Taiwan Strait for global security and prosperity.
The Taiwan Strait: A Global Flashpoint
President Tsai’s speech was a robust assertion of Taiwan’s sovereignty in the face of Beijing’s persistent threats and provocations. China has long considered Taiwan as its own territory and has been unrelenting in its efforts to assert control over the island. These efforts have included a significant increase in the deployment of ships and warplanes across the Taiwan Strait, a move intended to intimidate Taiwan’s population of 23 million.
Taiwan’s populace, however, remains steadfast in their preference for the status quo of de-facto independence. President Tsai made it clear that this is not just a domestic sentiment but an international consensus. She stated unequivocally that the international community sees the stability of the Taiwan Strait as an “indispensable component of global security and prosperity.”
A Call for Peace and Resolution
In a world marked by uncertainty, President Tsai’s words offered a path forward. She reiterated that peace is the only viable option for the Taiwan Strait. Amidst growing tensions and military posturing, she reminded both sides that neither can unilaterally change the status quo. Differences must be resolved peacefully through dialogue and negotiation.
Tsai’s message was crystal clear: “Maintaining the status quo, as the largest common denominator for all sides, is the critical key to ensuring peace.” Her words carry the weight of a leader who has served two terms in office and is determined to leave behind a legacy of stability and peace.
Taiwan’s Defense Capabilities
President Tsai also highlighted Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to bolster its national defense self-sufficiency. In particular, she pointed to the recent launch of a home-built submarine as a significant milestone in strengthening the nation’s military capabilities. “We took a big step forward in our national defense self-sufficiency and further enhanced the asymmetric capabilities of our military,” she proudly declared.
A Complex Identity
Taiwan’s National Day celebrations featured marching bands from Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S., underscoring the island’s unique identity. Taiwan is a self-governing democracy with national symbols and state institutions rooted in mainland China’s history, dating back to the overthrow of the Manchu Qing dynasty in 1911.
The historical complexities of Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China were on full display during the ceremonies. The Chinese Nationalist Party, which relocated the government to Taiwan in 1949 following the Communist Party’s takeover of mainland China, continues to advocate for eventual unification between the two sides.
Challenges and Opportunities
However, it’s worth noting that not all Nationalist politicians attended this year’s ceremonies due to a semantic dispute. They objected to the use of the term “Taiwan” instead of the official name “Republic of China” in English references to the event.
China, for its part, has maintained limited communication with President Tsai’s government since she assumed office in 2016. The upcoming presidential election, with Vice President William Lai as a favored candidate, could potentially lead to further tensions between the two sides, despite their close economic and cultural ties.
In conclusion, President Tsai Ing-wen’s National Day address was a powerful reaffirmation of Taiwan’s commitment to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Her words resonate not only within Taiwan but across the globe, where the international community recognizes the pivotal role that Taiwan plays in maintaining global security and prosperity. As we navigate the complex dynamics of this region, it is clear that dialogue, peaceful resolution, and unwavering determination are the keys to a brighter future for Taiwan and the broader world.