President Tsai Ing-wen, who was re-elected after a landslide on January 11 after promising to stand up to China's threats, has made strengthening the Taiwanese defense a top priority, including strengthening the domestic defense industry so that high-tech Equipment such as submarines can be made.
The U.S. was quick to congratulate Tsai on her election win, with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo calling Taiwan a "model for the Indo-Pacific region and a force for good in the world".
For decades, it was a dictatorship under Chiang Kai-shek's nationalists following their 1949 defeat to the communists in China's civil war.
"Because [for more than] three years we're seeing China has been intensifying its threat. they have their military vessels and aircraft cruising around the island", Tsai said.
China has greeted Tsai's re-election with anger, warning against any move to push the island closer towards independence. Chinese President Xi Jinping has confirmed his desire to unite and has continued to dramatically exceed Taiwan's defense spending.
On Monday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed his victory and warned Taiwan's supporters of independence, saying that "dividing the country is doomed to leave a name that will stink for eternity".
By adhering to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle, cross-Strait relations will be improved and developed, and the interests and well-being of Taiwan compatriots will be safeguarded and enhanced, Ma said.
"Taiwan's future lies in the unification of the country", spokesman Ma Xiaoguang said, adding its future must be decided by "all Chinese people". Now she'll need to show whether she can use that base to build a more credible deterrent against any attack by an increasingly powerful China.
"We will never allow anyone, any organization, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China", Ma said.
In her BBC interview - which came as Taiwan held annual military drills on the south of the island - Tsai warned Beijing against sending in troops.
Western defense analysts have advocated a "porcupine strategy" for Taiwan that would deter Beijing from military action by making it too painful for China to invade.
Tsai reminded Beijing that peace, parity, democracy and dialogue are the keys to positive cross-strait relations. She did not give more details.
"Maintaining a status quo remains our policy".
Tsai has repeatedly said she is willing to talk to Beijing as long as there are no pre-conditions. Although Hu's remarks are not officially representative of the communist state, his warning is meant to show the hawkish elements within the CCP who are already gearing up for military action.
But the strong-arm tactics backfired with voters resoundingly backing Tsai for another four more years.