Taiwan’s Tsai paints China as aggressor in India, South China Sea

Taiwan’s Tsai paints China as aggressor in India, South China Sea

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen painted Beijing as an aggressor in disputes from the South China Sea to the China-India border, while at the same time saying she was willing to hold cross-strait talks.

Being careful not to directly name China, Tsai said in a National Day speech on Saturday in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei that “for some time we have all been paying close attention to changes in regional security.”

“From sovereignty disputes in the South and East China seas and the China-India border conflict, to developments in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the ‘Hong Kong version of the National Security Law’ that has garnered international concern, it is clear that democracy, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific are currently facing serious challenges,” she said.

Sean King, a scholar at the University of Notre Dame Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Affairs, said Tsai “clearly sees a regional role for Taiwan, putting its potential and plight in the context of other hot spots.”

Tsai also used her speech to stress that the democratic-ruled island will continue to boost its defense capabilities as cross-strait tensions mount.

“At this stage, the most pressing cross-strait issue is to discuss how we can live in peace and coexist based on mutual respect, goodwill and understanding,” said Tsai, who was reelected in a landslide victory in January,

“As long as the Beijing authorities are willing to resolve antagonisms and improve cross-strait relations, while parity and dignity are maintained, we are willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue,” Tsai said. “We are committed to upholding cross-strait stability, but this is not something Taiwan can shoulder alone; it is the joint responsibility of both sides.”