President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan is preparing against any potential Chinese invasion but also urged for “meaningful dialogue” with China. Beijing has claimed the island democracy as its own territory.
Ms Tsai is the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party and chose to speak calmly to mark Taiwan’s National Day.
She made her speech following a month of China’s military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
However, China’s state-backed newspaper the Global Times criticised Ms Tsai’s speech.
The Chinese Communist Party supported paper said Taiwan’s president was trying to “fool” the world.
It insisted that the risk of war between the two sides had increased “sharply” in the past few months.
The Chinese government has claimed ownership of Taiwan under its “One China” policy, which demands there is only one sovereign state under the name China.
China’s Communist Party has threatened to take Taiwan by force if diplomatic efforts do not succeed.
Taiwan has been an independent country since the end of the Chinese Civil War.
The strait is part of the South China Sea which Beijing has also made territorial claims over.
Ms Tsai said she is “willing to work together to facilitate meaningful dialogue” with China even though tensions between the two neighbours have risen in recent months.
The Global Times, however, stated that the situation between China and Taiwan “has been seriously deteriorating”.
In an article published on Sunday, the paper said Taiwan’s president was “utilizing the idea of facilitating dialogue as an ‘olive branch’ as a delaying tactic, attempting to deceive the international community for sympathy”.
The Chinese-backed media also branded Ms Tsai’s government as “a gaggle of opportunistic politicians”.
It also called China’s recent military exercises in the strait “as a clear warning against moves from forces which seek ‘secession’”.
It added: “Due to provocation from the Tsai authorities, the risk of war is rising sharply, and Tsai authorities are standing at the precipice.”
The Global Times released video footage of China’s People’s Liberation Army military exercises in the disputed waters.
The paper called the drills proof of “the mainland’s strong capability and firm will against Taiwan secessionists and push for reunification”.
The article added: “The exercises featured concentrated deployments of unmanned aerial, surface and ground vehicles, which will significantly boost the PLA’s efficiency in seizing the control of an island.”