China's pressuring will only make Taiwan stronger: Premier Lai

Taiwan Premier William Lai (賴清德)

Taiwan Premier William Lai (賴清德) (CNA photo)

Taipei, July 27 (CNA) China's pressuring of Taiwan is not conducive to cross-Taiwan Strait relations and will only make Taiwan stronger and more united, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Friday.

In a televised interview with Taiwanese media outlet Sanlih E-Television, Lai said the country's defense budget will be increased by NT$18.3 billion (US$598.6 million) next year, an increase that demonstrates self-reliance and the will to defend Taiwan.

Commenting on Beijing's maneuvering to cancel the 2019 East Asian Youth Games that Taichung was scheduled to host, Lai said the move will only antagonize Taiwan's people and will not be favorable to the normal development of cross-strait relations.

As for China's pressuring of international airlines to change Taiwan's designation on their websites, he said such actions have made China look bad and stand out as a bully.

Beijing will not succeed through threats and will only lead Taiwan's public to become more skeptical of China, Lai said.

"The incident involving the East Asian Youth Games will not be the last," he said, urging people from across all parties to stand united to face the problem at hand.

The government, meanwhile, will also continue to seek assistance from the United States, Lai said.

Cross-strait relations have been chilly since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party, which has traditionally supported independence from China, assumed office in May 2016. (By Yeh Su-ping and Ko Lin)