taiwan will not bow to pressure by beijing and will defend its democratic way of life, the island.

'The more we achieve, the greater the pressure we face from China,' Tsai said in a speech marking Taiwan's National Day on Sunday in the capital of Taipei, adding : 'Nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. '

She added that China's military flights into Taiwan's air defence zone had seriously affected national security and aviation safety, and described the situation as being "more complex and fluid than at any other point in the past 72 years".

Her speech comes amid a rise in aggressive threats and provocative military action by China over Taiwanese airspace in recent days.

The two sides have been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

That path, she said, offered "neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan nor sovereignty" for its 23 million people.

Three Chinese planes, including two fighter jets, crossed into the zone on Sunday, Taiwan's defence ministry said.

The speech comes amid a rise in aggressive threats and provocative military action by China over Taiwanese airspace in recent days

China's crackdown in Hong Kong, a city Beijing said would be a model for how it would rule Taiwan, has also done little to endear Taiwanese to assurances that their way of life would continue under communist party rule.

'Reunification now is not appropriate.

It's useless,' he said.

Mr Xi was speaking at an official celebration in Beijing's Great Hall of the People that focused largely on the need for the ruling Communist Party to continue to lead China as the country rises in power and influence.

Pictured: Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth warship (second right at the head of the armada) took part in joint training with warships from six different countries over the weekend in the Philippine Sea amid rising tensions between China and Taiwan

her remarks on taiwan's national day and mr xi jinping vowed to "fulfil reunification".

she added : 'china has many tools as its disposal, including that 80 per cent of taiwan's economy is somewhat dependent on trade with china is high, china is aware of that.

The armada, which also includes a number of warships from six different countries in total, trained together over the weekend in the region amid the rising tensions.

It doesn't signal imminent assault. '

Nearly 150 Chinese warplanes have breached Taiwan's airspace since Friday, including nuclear-capable bombers on Monday in a dramatic increase in aggression

XI has often repeated China's aim to "reunify" Taiwan with China by the 100th anniversary of the People ’ s Republic of China in 2049.

One man watching Ms Tsai's speech told AFP news agency Taiwanese people could not accept unification with China.

Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.

Ms Tsai was re-elected by a landslide last year on a promise to stand up to Beijing.

Taiwan will not bow to pressure by Beijing and will defend its democratic way of life, the island's President Tsai Ing-wen warned today, following a spike in incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defence zone

Her speech was followed by a flypast of Taiwanese fighter jets.

"one china" policy under which it recognises china rather than taiwan.

On Saturday, China's President Xi said unification should be achieved peacefully, but warned that the Chinese people had a "glorious tradition" of opposing separatism.

"The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland ... will definitely be fulfilled," he added.

Beijing views the island as an autonomous Chinese province and has long sought reunification though Taiwan sees itself as an independent state. The two sides have been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949

Despite the recent heightened tensions, relations between China and Taiwan have not deteriorated to levels last seen in 1996 when China tried to disrupt presidential elections with missile tests and the US dispatched aircraft carriers to the region to dissuade them.

Washington does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state yet increased arms sales, diplomatic contacts and the presence of US special forces and marines, revealed last week, reflect a deepening commitment.

In an interview with the BBC this week, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US would "stand up and speak out" over any actions that might "undermine peace and stability" across the Taiwan Strait.

Defiant statements by Taiwan ’ s leaders “ to do whatever it takes ” to repel invasion have acquired a new intensity.

A military honor guard attends during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei on Sunday

The US and regional countries are uneasy.

Unlike previous verbal broadsides, Xi's speech in the Great Hall of the People avoided an overt threat of force to defeat those he calls "independence separatists".

Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan ’ s defence minister, predicts Beijing will be ready to attack by 2025.

“ Deterring China will require sustained increases in military spending and a greater willingness to use force ...

The street is disinfected during the national day celebration in Taipei, Taiwan, by health workers who can be seen spraying the disinfectant whole sat in the back of trucks

concerns over china's rhetoric led to a rare face-to-face meeting between us national security advisor jake sullivan and china's top diplomat yang jiech at zurich last week.

Both sides subsequently reiterated their commitment to a peaceful solution.

But Biden ’ s renewed request for direct talks with Xi again met with a cool response.

China ’ s de facto president-for-life has accumulated a level of dictatorial power unmatched by any leader since Mao and no one should doubt his determination to subjugate Taiwan and secure his legacy by completing the unification of communist China 100 years after its birth.

Polling shows the vast majority of Taiwanese have no desire to be ruled by Beijing. Most favour maintaining the status quo although there is a growing Taiwanese nationalist sentiment, especially among younger people

A defiant Taiwan symbolising the global ideological struggle between democracy and authoritarianism.

Taiwan, which considers itself a sovereign state, responded by saying its future lay in the hands of its people and has vowed to defend itself against Chinese aggression.

It follows weeks of ratcheting tension over what is widely expected to prove the flashpoint of military conflict between Beijing and the West, with a record 150 incursions by Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force in Taiwanese airspace since October.

Analysts say these flights can be seen as a warning to Taiwan's democratically elected president Tsai Ing-wen, ahead of the island ’ s national day today.

Taiwanese honor guards take part in a parade marking National Day in Taipei on Sunday amid heightened tensions with China

While unification with Taiwan, which China wrongly considers to be a breakaway province, is a deeply political issue, the island is also the world's largest producer of quality semiconductors, vital for next generation technological advances.

Last night it emerged that the UK will dedicate one of its Astute-class submarines to the region on an "enduring basis ” as part of a joint operation with the US.

It will also carry out joint exercises with South Korean forces, the Japanese Navy and the Australians as a Pacific force of allied nations monitor China's future intentions.

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