Tsai condemns Beijing after Kiribati ditches Taiwan for China
Tsai made the remarks after attending an exhibition in Taoyuan, in the wake of an announcement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu that Taiwan has cut diplomatic ties with the central Pacific nation after the latter decided to establish formal relations with China, leaving Taiwan with only 15 diplomatic allies worldwide.
"China has chosen this time to strike a series of blows against Taiwan because only slightly more than 100 days remain until our presidential election," Tsai said.
China will continue to seek to suppress and coerce Taiwan in the months before the election in order to influence the outcome, Tsai said.
"China is attempting to use these acts of suppression to tell the people of Taiwan that we cannot buy fighter jets or support Hong Kong, and that we can only choose a president who will bow to China," Tsai went on.
She told China that Taiwan will never accept China's "one country, two systems" formula.
"One country, two systems" refers to a constitutional principle formulated by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping during the early 1980s, which suggests that there is only one China, but distinct regions such as Hong Kong and Macau can provisionally retain their own economic and administrative systems.
The Taiwanese people will not abandon their determination in the face of China's thuggish oppression, Tsai stressed.
She also slammed Kiribati's decision to switch allegiance to Beijing, saying that it is a huge mistake.
In a similar tone, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top policymaking body on China, issued a statement saying that China intends to sway Taiwan's elections by poaching its diplomatic allies.
The move has severely undermined the status quo of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and has also damaged the foundation of cross-strait interaction.
Kiribati is the second of Taiwan's allies to defect this week and the seventh to switch allegiance to Beijing since 2016, following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, El Salvador and the Solomon Islands.