Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to continue defending the island’s independence against Beijing. In a New Year’s speech, she said the differences with communist mainland China cannot be resolved by force.

“Taiwan’s consistent position has been that we will neither bow to pressure nor act rashly when we have support,” Tsai said in a New Year’s speech streamed on Saturday.

“We want to remind the Beijing authorities that they should not misjudge the situation, and that they should stop the spread of military adventurism within their ranks,” she said.

Beijing claims Taiwan, a self-proclaimed independent island country with close ties to the US, as its own territory. The issue of Taiwan remained at the center of wider US-Chinese tensions throughout 2021.

“The use of military means is absolutely not an option for resolving the differences between our two sides,” Tsai said, adding that tensions in the Taiwan Strait region can be only resolved peacefully. She stressed that defending Taiwan’s “territorial sovereignty and national security” will continue to be her government’s priority in 2022.

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Last year, Taiwan accused Beijing of repeatedly flying jet fighters and bombers close to its borders. Beijing decried Washington’s arms deals with Taiwan and promised a crackdown on Taiwanese politicians that it considers “secessionist.”

In his own New Year’s message, Chinese President Xi Jinping said “the complete reunification of our motherland is an aspiration shared by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

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