Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen, emphasized that Taiwan's relationship with China must be determined by the will of the people and peace must be based on "dignity." These comments come in response to China's leader, Xi Jinping stating that "reunification" with the island is inevitable.
Xi Jinping's comments depict a shift in tone from the previous year wherein he stated that people on either side of the Taiwan Strait are "members of one and the same family."
On 13 January, democratically governed Taiwan will hold presidential and parliamentary elections. China has been ramping up military pressure to assert its sovereignty over the region in the weeks leading up to the elections.
When asked about Xi's comments Tsai noted that it is the responsibility of both sides to maintain peace and stability in the region. She continued to state that China should respect the outcome of Taiwan's elections.
During the civil war in 1949, Taiwan split from China. However, Beijing continues to regard the island as Chinese territory.
China has described the elections in Taiwan as a choice between war and peace. The state has refused multiple offers of talks by Tsai, believing her to be a separatist.