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Combination images of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and China's President Xi Jinping. Photo: Walid Berrazeg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images/Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

President Tsai Ing-wen said Sunday that Taiwan would never "bow to pressure" from China's government and pledged to strengthen the self-governing island's defenses to protect its "democratic way of life," per the BBC.

Why it matters: Tsai's declaration on Taiwan's National Day came one day after China's President Xi Jinping vowed to achieve "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan.

Driving the news: Xi said Saturday that the biggest barrier to potential reunification with China was the "Taiwan independence" force, adding "those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland and seek to split the country will come to no good," CNN notes.

  • Xi said he sought peaceful reunification under a "one country, two systems" policy, an offer that Taiwan's presidential office staunchly opposes, Reuters reports.

What they're saying: Tsai noted in her speech the record 145 fighter Chinese military planes that entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone last week, according to the BBC.

  • She said her government would "continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us," per Al Jazeera.
  • "This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people," Tsai added.

Of note: Tsai, who was reelected by a landslide last year after pledging to stand up for Taiwan's democracy, reiterated her offer for peace talks with Chinese government leaders, which has so far been rejected.

Background: Taiwan and mainland China have been governed separately for more than seven decades.

Between the lines: The Wall Street Journal reported last week that U.S. forces have been secretly training military forces in Taiwan for more than a year amid increasing concerns over Chinese aggression.

Go deeper: Biden says he and China's Xi have agreed to abide by Taiwan "agreement"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Tsai and further context.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 22, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The road to COP26 gets slightly easier

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The bad diplomatic vibes heading into the critical United Nations climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, might be improving slightly.

Catch up fast: Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday pledged to end overseas finance for building new coal-fired power plants and boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

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