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Taiwan’s leader wants to form a coalition of nations to protect their freedom, in a reference to China’s missions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. China currently claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has applied pressure on Taiwan to also accept its sovereignty.
Xi Jinping’s regime has been upgrading its military capabilities in order to improve the quality of its missions.
The latest upgrade was spotted at a naval aviation regiment base under the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command.
Ms Tsai addressed the issue in Taipei at a forum attended by top Taiwanese security officials and senior Western diplomats.
She said Taiwan was leading the fight for its democracy from “authoritarian aggression”.
The Taiwanese leader said she was committed to improve the country’s defensive competence.
She said: “The rapid militarisation of the South China Sea, increasing and frequent grey-zone tactics in the Taiwan Strait and East China Sea, coercive diplomacy used against countries and corporations are all destabilising the Indo-Pacific region.
“It is time for like-minded countries, and democratic friends in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, to discuss a framework to generate sustained and concerted efforts to maintain a strategic order that deters unilateral aggressive actions.”
Ms Tsai kept the desire to avoid war at the forefront of her appeal, but invited democracies to work together.
China has been mounting pressure on Taiwan to recognise its status as part of China’s territory, but Taiwan refused to give in to the push and instead created stronger bonds with other “like-minded” democracies.
Some of those territories include the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, the European Union and Japan.
The US is a key ally for Taiwan as it is the island’s main arms supplier.
During the meeting, Ms Tsai said the free world needs “a strategic order that encourages cooperation, transparency and problem-solving through dialogue, not threats of war”.
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She added that it also needs “a strategy that avoids war, yet clearly conveys our resolve to protect our democracies.”
Ms Tsai added: “Divided we fall. Together, we are more than the sum of our parts.”
Taiwan has joined the US in its rejection of China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea.
Back in July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a formal rebuttal of “most” of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
His remarks were considered a further escalation of tensions between the US and China, but he described the move as “strengthening US policy”.
Mr Pompeo said “Beijing’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them.”
In a statement he added: “The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire.
“America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law.
“We stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any push to impose ‘might makes right’ in the South China Sea or the wider region.”
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