Taiwan would keep pushing for defence autonomy while maintaining a stable relationship with China for the sake of regional peace, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Friday.
“We can’t rely on others if Taiwan wants to ensure its sovereignty and jointly maintain regional peace and stability,’’ Tsai told a year-end news conference held at the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, the primary research and development institution of Taiwan’s national defence ministry.
Tsai’s remarks came just days after the ministry released Taiwan’s latest national defence report, which said the nation is strengthening its asymmetric warfare capabilities and has adjusted its focus for defending against a possible Chinese invasion.
The Chinese air force early this month conducted air patrols near Taiwan.
The exercises also came amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Taiwan’s presidency warned such actions would compromise regional stability.
“Cross-Strait problems can’t be resolved by force. Instead, we should adopt peaceful means to deal with different opinions and stances,’’ Tsai said.
The president of the self-governing island said Taiwan would keep increasing its national defence budget in the following years.
Taiwan plans to start manufacturing indigenously produced, long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles.
In addition, she said, Taiwan is building jet trainer aircraft and a maiden flight is scheduled in 2020.
Taiwan has had a separate government since Chinese Nationalists fled there in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists in China.
China considers Taiwan part of its territory. (dpa/NAN)