Taipei, April 19 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) said Friday that the leader of Taiwan needs to be someone with the diplomatic skills needed to garner international support in the face of intensifying pressure from China, as she has done.
Tsai made the comment during an interview with GreenPeace Broadcasting Station.
Tsai said that the 2020 presidential election will represent a watershed moment when Taiwanese decide whether to maintain their current status as an independent and sovereign country or are forced to embark on the process of unification with China.
Faced with constant pressure from Beijing, Tsai said, the president of Taiwan needs to be able to secure support from the international community, including security assistance.
In addition, Tsai said that it is necessary to continue to strengthen Taiwan's national defense capacity as China will only deal with the cross-Taiwan Strait situation in a peaceful manner when Taiwan has the capacity to defend itself.
Only a strong defense capacity can guarantee peace, Tsai said.
Speaking about Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) speech on the "one-country, two-system" formula earlier this year, Tsai said Xi has adopted a more assertive stance toward Taiwan since starting his second term as China's president.
Xi aims at unification with Taiwan, the president said, adding that greater national strength is needed in the face of increased Chinese aggression.
Tsai cited the increased activity of the Chinese military in areas around Taiwan recently, including Chinese fighters recently crossing the median line in the Taiwan Strait and warships crossing near Taiwan or through the strait.
Commenting on the U.S. State Department depicting her as a calm and trustworthy leader, Tsai said the most important thing as president is to be consistent in words and deeds, and to be able to withstand pressure from all sides.
When asked about recent comments by Taiwanese tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘) dismissive of democracy, Tsai said without democracy, the development of the country will go backwards.
Gou announced his intention to compete in the opposition Kuomintang's (KMT) presidential primary Wednesday.
With recent opinion polls showing her behind other presidential hopefuls, Tsai reiterated that she is willing to cooperate with former Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who is challenging her for the right to run as the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, thereby boosting the party's chance of victory.
Taiwan's former Premier Lai Ching-te (center)
Lai said the same day that he very much still hopes to represent the party in the 2020 presidential race.
When asked about his opinion on Gou's bid to run as the KMT presidential candidate, Lai said he respects anyone's right to run and recognizes Gou's determination to serve the country.
"Whoever wins leads Taiwan," he said.
The DPP has postponed the start of the party's presidential primary from April to May 22 in the hope of resolving the differences between Tsai and Lai through a mediation process.