TAIPEI, Taiwan: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed that Taiwan would never "bow to pressure" from China and pledged to bolster the island's defenses to protect its "democratic way of life," the BBC reported.
Tsai's made her declaration on Taiwan's National Day, one day after China's President Xi Jinping vowed to achieve "peaceful reunification" with the island.
According to CNN, Xi stressed that the major barrier to potential reunification with China was the "Taiwan independence" movement, adding "those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good."
Reuters reported that Taiwan's presidential office strongly rejected Xi's offer of a peaceful reunification under a "one country, two systems" policy.
In her speech, Tsai noted that a record 145 Chinese fighter jets entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone last week, said the BBC.
Tsai further stressed that Taiwan's government would "continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves, to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us."
After being reelected by a landslide last year for pledging to protect Taiwan's democracy, Tsai again offered to hold peace talks with Chinese leaders, which Beijing earlier rejected.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. forces have been secretly training the Taiwanese military for more than a year, amidst increasing concerns over Chinese aggression.
U.S. President Joe Biden stated that he and China's Xi have agreed to abide by the Taiwan "agreement."