• Associated Press

Taiwan President Pledges to Strengthen Island’s Defense Capability with new Technologies

AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, center, waves before an offshore anti-terrorism drill outside the Kaohsiung harbor in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Saturday, June 10, 2023.

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday said the self-ruled island would work to improve its rescue and defense capabilities with new technologies, adding that strengthening Taiwan is key to maintaining peace.

Tsai also pledged that her government would promote policies to safeguard maritime and border security after inspecting an anti-terror drill in Kaohsiung city in southwestern Taiwan.

“The safer Taiwan is, the safer the world is,” she said.

Tsai’s remarks came as the democratic island faces increasing military threats from China, which sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be retaken by force if necessary.

During Saturday’s drills, Taiwanese security officers demonstrated how they would defend against terrorist acts at sea. Some climbed from small boats onto a vessel controlled by “terrorists” and brought them under control. Others rappelled down from a flying helicopter. The simulation ended with a dramatic scene in which some officers hung in the air as they were sent back to the helicopter.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 following a civil war that ended with the ruling Communist Party in control of the mainland. The island has never been part of the People’s Republic of China, but Beijing says it must unite with the mainland.

Beijing also has intensified its battle to win away Taiwan’s diplomatic allies since independence-leaning Tsai took office in 2016. In March, Honduras established formal relations with China, becoming the latest in a string of countries to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Honduran President Xiomara Castro arrived in Shanghai on Friday on her first visit since the establishment of ties. She said her country would strengthen cooperation with the financial hub and actively participate in the China International Import Expo to be held there in November, according to a report by state media Xinhua on Saturday.