Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen staunchly defended the island's sovereignty and democracy, and denounced China's "diplomatic offensives and military coercion" in her annual National Day speech on Thursday.
Tsai's comments come amid a renewed push by China to internationally isolate the self-governing island democracy that it claims as its own territory by poaching its few remaining diplomatic allies.
Tsai told the nation Beijing was threatening to impose its "one country, two systems model" on Taiwan, adding that Hong Kong, where protests have been going on since June, was "on the verge of chaos" due to the failure of the model.
"When freedom and democracy are challenged, and when the Republic of China's existence and development are threatened, we must stand up and defend ourselves", Tsai said, referring to Taiwan by its official name.
China cut off contact with Tsai's government shortly after her inauguration in 2016 because she rejects Beijing's claim to the island.
"I think the president's statements and viewpoints parallel what the U.S.is saying at the moment, as they (both) see China as a competitor", said Alexander Huang, strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan.
The ROC was initially established by the nationalists in 1912 in mainland China, but when the communists won the civil war 70 years ago the ROC government under the KMT moved to Taiwan.
As a crucial member of the region, Taiwan must fulfil its responsibilities to the worldwide community, the President said, adding: "We will not act provocatively or rashly; rather, we will work with like-minded countries to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered".
Tsai's approval rating of 41.1% far exceeds that of her challenger, Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu of the China-friendly Kuomintang opposition, according to the latest poll by the Apple Daily newspaper.
While a headache to Beijing, the political crisis in Hong Kong has turned into a blessing for Tsai and her prospects in the coming presidential elections.
Most people were probably enjoying the long weekend holiday and not actually watching the speech, Feingold said, but noted that Tsai appeared to be the frontrunner in January's presidential election.
However, KMT legislative caucus whip William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that while Tsai called the words "Republic of China (Taiwan)" the overwhelming consensus of Taiwan society, the Constitution says that the national title is the Republic of China, not the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Tsai, a 63-year-old US -educated law scholar, is ramping up her campaign for reelection before the vote in January. Five other countries have switched sides under Tsai. "We will not act provocatively or rashly; rather, we will work with like-minded countries to ensure that the peaceful and stable cross-strait status quo is not unilaterally altered".
On Tuesday evening, Cruz gave strong support for Taiwan and the protesters in Hong Kong, who he said were "risking their lives because they seek freedom".