Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday underlined the challenge that the island is facing to uphold its freedom and democracy amid constantly increasing military and diplomatic pressure from China.
In her New Year's Day address, President Tsai said, "The pursuit of democracy and freedom is not a crime, and Taiwan's position in support of Hong Kong will not change. Aside from showing our concern, we will cherish our own hard-earned freedom and democracy even more deeply."
"We will make Taiwan even better and show the world that democratic Taiwan has the courage to step out from the shadow of authoritarian China, and that we will not bow to pressure," Tsai said.
China continues to consider Taiwan a breakaway province even after decades of separate governance. Taipei has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, even as Beijing continues to threaten that "Taiwan's independence" by means of war.
Amid the constantly increasing military and diplomatic pressure from China, Taiwan President noted the challenge to uphold its freedom, democracy, and consensus to connect with the world.
"Continuing our global engagement, maintaining our economic momentum, strengthening our social security network, and safeguarding our nation's sovereignty are the four pillars of our plan for stable governance in 2022," she was quoted as saying by Taiwan Focus.
China on Thursday, in a belligerent tone, had said it sent more than 940 fighters planes for routine drills which are more than what Taiwanese authorities have said.
"The PLA dispatched more warplanes to routine drills near Taiwan than the DPP authorities revealed, Chinese Defense Ministry said in response to DPP's recent claims that the mainland conducted 940 warplane sorties near the Taiwan island this year," state media outlet Global Times reported.
Taiwan witnessed 950 intrusions by the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military planes into its Air Defence Identification Zone in 2021 so far, a 60 per cent increase from the previous year.
Moreover, Taiwanese media reported that the island is anticipating a further rise in the number of intrusions as China has ramped up sorties over the past few years.
The number of flights is expected to increase further as tensions rise over major political events on two sides of the Taiwan Strait in 2022, Taiwan News reported.