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TAIPEI, Taipei – President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the international community for supporting Taiwan in her Lunar New Year message on Thursday, February 8, a day after China’s military released a song urging the island to “come home” amid images of simulated missile attacks.
China, which claims the democratically ruled island as its own territory, despite the objections of the government in Taipei, has increased military activity around Taiwan during the past four years, including staging war games nearby.
In a short, pre-recorded video message before the start of the Lunar New Year on Saturday, Tsai said that in the face of the “rapidly changing international situation,” Taiwan was united in its efforts to stand firm.
“I believe that as long as we continue to support each other, we can overcome difficulties; as long as we continue to unite, we can protect the country,” she said.
Switching to English, Tsai offered thanks to the world for supporting Taiwan.
“To our friends around the world, thank you for continuing to support Taiwan. Moving forward, Taiwan will keep working with our democratic partners to maintain peace and stability,” she added. “We will pursue cooperation and prosperity, and make Taiwan one with the world.”
Taiwan has been heartened by support from the United States and many of its Western allies in the face of Chinese pressure, despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, to the anger of Beijing.
On Wednesday, China’s People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command, whose area of responsibility includes Taiwan, put out a new year’s music video called “You Only Win by Coming Home” and sung partially in Hokkien, widely spoken in Taiwan as well as the Chinese province of Fujian.
The video showed footage of Chinese warships and warplanes, including J-20 stealth fighters, as well as images of simulated missile strikes on Taiwan that the command first released during war games around the island in April 2023.
“It’s hard not to feel regret for a family which has not gotten back together,” the male singer sings.
The video also shows Taiwan street scenes and Taipei 101, briefly the world’s tallest building.
Tsai did not directly offer New Year greetings to China in her message, instead extending best wishes to “good friends” around the world celebrating the festival, which is also observed in countries such as Vietnam and South Korea.
Tsai leaves office on May 20, when current Vice President Lai Ching-te, who won election last month, is inaugurated.
China despises both Tsai and Lai believing they are separatists and has rebuffed their offers of talks. – Rappler.com