Taiwan ramping up arsenal

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Taiwan’s leader warned Beijing in a national day speech on Monday that the island would never give up its democratic way of life and is ramping up production of missiles and naval vessels to stress her point.

“We are ramping up the mass production of precision missiles and high-performance naval vessels,” President Tsai Ing-wen said in her speech.

“In addition, we are working to acquire various small, highly mobile precision weapons that will help us develop comprehensive asymmetric warfare capabilities, ensuring that Taiwan is fully prepared to respond to external military threats,” she added.

She also reiterated the need to mobilize and train more civilians to work with the military, a strategy that Ukraine successfully adopted after Russia’s invasion.

“Every citizen is a guardian of our nation,” she said.

Tsai said becoming part of China was not acceptable to the 23 million people in Taiwan.

“During the past 73 years, the people of Taiwan have lived and grown together on this land, and have formed our own strong sense of identity and belonging,” she said.

“The broadest consensus among the Taiwanese people and our various political parties is that we must defend our national sovereignty and our free and democratic way of life. On this point, we have no room for compromise.”

Taiwan and China split at the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

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