Taiwan marks ‘national day’ today under looming shadow of China
Amid concerns regarding a potential Chinese ‘invasion’ around the corner, Taiwan celebrates its ‘national day’ on Sunday. The celebrations for the day, which is immensely significant in the history of the East Asian nation, are likely to not be received well by China, which celebrated its own national day earlier this month by violating Taiwan's airspace with a slew of fighter aircraft in a major display of military supremacy and strategic pressure. Beijing claims the democratic island as its own territory and Chinese president Xi Jinping even said on Saturday that Taiwan's independence was a “grave lurking threat to national rejuvenation”.
The Taiwan National Day—also known as the ‘Double Ten’ or the ‘Double Tenth Day’— is a public holiday that remembers the 1911 Wuchang Uprising which ultimately led to the creation of the Republic of China. However, after the Chinese civil war, the Republic of China was forced to cede control to the communists and the erstwhile officials fled to Taiwan in 1949. Each year, the presidential square in Taipei—the capital of the island nation—is lit up on this day while large parades and rallies, displays of martial arts, folk dancing, and other cultural activities are conducted.
However, the threat of Beijing's increasingly hostile advances seems closer than ever this year, according to reports. Although a ‘full scale’ Chinese invasion seems unlikely at least until 2025, Taiwan's defence minister said at the country's parliament on Wednesday that tensions with Beijing are now at their worst in more than 40 years. He noted that there was an added risk of “misfire” across the sensitive Taiwan Strait and that while China may already have the required arsenal to take Taiwan by force, the cost of a “full scale” war for Beijing might be at its lowest by 2025, when a potential invasion seems likely.
Notably, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed more than 150 fighter aircraft across the Taiwan Straits, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, declared on Saturday that "the complete reunification of China can and will be realised,” and said that the ‘Taiwan question’ brooks no international interference from third parties. Although Xi promised that Beijing will concentrate its efforts on a peaceful “reunification” with Taiwan, he stopped short of mentioning anything on the use of force. Taiwan responded shortly after by calling on Beijing to abandon its coercion, reiterating that only Taiwan’s people could decide their future.