Taipei, April 16 (CNA) Taiwan is not being intimidated by Chinese military coercion, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday, stressing that China's actions are only strengthening the country's resolution to defend itself.
Speaking during an Indo-Pacific security forum in Taipei, the president said the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has increased the frequency with which it has deployed military jets and vessels in Taiwan's vicinity in recent years.
One of those deployments occurred as recently as Monday. According to Taiwan's military, a group of PLA planes flew over the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan and the Philippines, after taking off from southern China at around noon that day.
"As president, I want to tell you that Taiwan is not intimidated," she said.
"These actions only serve to strengthen our resolve. Our military forces have the capacity, determination, and commitment to defend Taiwan and not allow coercion to dictate our own future," she said.
Tsai also thanked the U.S. for its timely support for Taiwan's security after the U.S. notified Taiwan earlier Tuesday (Monday U.S. time) of the latest round of arms sales to the country, the third since President Donald Trump assumed office in January 2017.
The US$500 million package is meant for "the continuation of a pilot training program and maintenance/logistics support for F-16 aircraft currently at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona," according to a statement released by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
According to Tsai, this latest sale is meant to be used to train Taiwanese Air Force pilots to enhance their ability to defend Taiwan's air space and "to be of the same caliber as their American colleagues."
"I want to express my appreciation to the U.S. government for the announcement. I look forward to seeing our best and brightest receive the best training in the world," she said.