Taiwan celebrated its 106th birthday on October 10 and commemorated the Xinhai Revolution that overthrew China’s last dynasty. Yet amidst the joy of parades and fireworks, the Taiwanese government finds itself contemplating the next move on its political agenda.
The past year has not been an easy for Taiwan. According to Zaobao, Taiwanese Premier Lai Ching-te called the Republic of China an “independent nation,” to which China dismissed by insisting that Taiwan would always remain part of the PRC. The crisis arose at a crucial time in regard to the Cross-Strait relations, right before the scheduled 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18. This recent quarrel leaves Taiwan in an especially vulnerable position, given the uncertainty of PRC’s political reshuffle.
To worsen the situation, Ian Easton published a new article on October 3 titled “The Chinese Invasion Threat,” revealing the People’s Liberation Army’s plan to invade Taiwan in 2020. While the administration made no direct comment on Easton’s new book, President Tsai Ing-wen, according to VOA, stated that although Taiwan seeks no further direct conflicts with China, it will certainly not surrender under pressure to any government in her speech on October 10.
Recently, Taiwan has solidified its relations with the Holy See despite growing rumors that the Vatican plans to abandon Taiwan for a better relationship with the PRC. Pope Francis extended his blessing to Taiwan and congratulated the nation on its birthday on October 5. On the same day, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, reaffirmed the friendship and cooperative spirit between the Vatican and Taiwan according to a report from Epoch Times. In response to rumors of severed diplomatic ties, Archbishop Gallagher reassured skeptics that the Vatican will always remain a loyal partner with Taiwan.
Moreover, the celebration has raised domestic controversies. During the preparation for the celebration, many Kuomintang (KMT) legislators questioned the absence of promoting the Republic of China (ROC) in Taipei and on invitation letters sent to Taiwan’s embassies and representative offices in other countries. According to Radio Free Asia, one legislator confesses that given Taiwan’s status, it is difficult to see ROC flags on the global stage. He says that when the administration intentionally avoids using them during national celebrations, the government is belittling its own authority. Li Dawei, Taiwan’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, insists that both flags and the name “Republic of China” symbolize national authority and dignity and attributes the lack of these symbols to pressures from the PRC.
In response to the absence of flags and other national symbols, local groups organized flag planting events in national cemeteries. Song Xukang, a chief organizer, says to a reporter from Epoch Times that he has extended the invitation to leaders of the five Yuan, but no one in the administration has responded.
In the wake of international challenges and domestic discontents, Tsai Ing-wen, calls for national unity and says that Taiwan will be better because of democracy, freedom, and harmony.