The Taiwanese president on Saturday urged China to curb its “military adventurism”, with tensions between the two parties at their highest levels in years.
Beijing has stepped up military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016, rejecting the view that the island is Chinese territory.
Chinese warplanes have made an all-time high number of raids on Taiwan’s air defense zone in recent months.
Beijing authorities “must stop the spread of military adventurism within their ranks,” Tsai said in her New Year’s speech.
“Using military means is absolutely not an option to resolve the differences between our two sides.”
Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to one day take it, by force if necessary.
President Xi Jinping stated in his New Year’s address that “the complete reunification of our motherland is a common cause” in both China and Taiwan.
Taiwan’s defense ministry warned in October that military tensions with China were at their highest in four decades after a record number of Chinese jets entered its air defense zone.
Beijing has also stepped up its efforts to isolate Taiwan from the international stage in recent years.
It considers any formal declaration of an “independent” Taiwan a provocation and has repeatedly threatened repercussions for countries that support Taipei in its self-determination.
Beijing has encouraged Taiwan’s dwindling diplomatic allies to switch sides.
Most recently, Nicaragua recognized Beijing over Taipei, and China opened its embassy in the Central American nation on Friday.
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