The “Republic of China Taiwan exists” despite Beijing’s efforts to ignore it by sending more warplanes across the de facto dividing line between them in the Taiwan Strait, Taipei said on Tuesday.
It culminated with the island’s foreign ministry blasting Beijing for “ignoring the international reality and objective fact that Taiwan is not subject to China’s jurisdiction”.
“We reiterate that the Republic of China Taiwan is a sovereign and independent state,” Taiwanese foreign ministry spokesman Jeff Liu said, adding that neither side was subordinate to the other.
The unofficial median line in the Taiwan Strait, drawn in the 1950s, reportedly by US general Benjamin Davis, to separate the two sides, has for decades helped minimise unintended incidents, as both sides avoided crossing it.
But in late 2020, Beijing started sending planes to cross the median line in what analysts said was a way to gradually normalise its presence in the area.
Beijing has vowed to bring the island under its control by force, if necessary. It has ramped up pressure on Taiwan by poaching its allies, staging war games nearby and sending warplanes to unnerve Taipei on almost a daily basis.
On Tuesday, Liu underscored the DPP’s position by referring to the island’s official title which has been used interchangeably as the ROC or Taiwan and sometimes “ROC Taiwan” by the DPP government.
Taiwan is diplomatically recognised by 13 allies as the Republic of China but no country has recognised the island as ROC Taiwan.
Liu said the mainland had never ruled Taiwan, adding “this is a fact and a reality commonly recognised by international society”.
“Regardless of how the Chinese government distorts its claim over Taiwan, there is no way it can change the objective fact that our country exists” in the world, he said.
The DPP government had come under fire from the mainland-friendly opposition camp for replacing the “ROC” with “Taiwan National Day 2023” in next month’s event.
It has also been criticised for replacing the English version of “ROC” on the island’s passports with “Taiwan Passport” instead, while maintaining the ROC title in Chinese. Beijing has labelled the moves as acts of “creeping independence”.
Most countries, including the United States – an informal ally and major arms supplier of Taiwan – do not recognise the island as an independent state, but are opposed to any unilateral change by force of the cross-strait status quo.