Fighter jets paraded across Taiwan's skies on Sunday (October 10) marking the island's National Day.
Addressing a rally outside the presidential office in Taipei, leader Tsai Ing-wen continued to rebuff comments made by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said he wanted to see a 'peaceful reunification' with Taiwan.
"We will continue to bolster our national defence and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us, a path that offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan."
China has long claimed Taiwan as its own territory with the island facing growing military and political pressure to accept Beijing's rule.
That includes repeated Chinese air force missions in Taiwan's airspace, which Tsai says has seriously affected national security and aviation safety.
China's activities there have been condemned internationally.
Tsai's speech comes a day after Xi vowed to realise China's reunification with Taiwan.
Although he didn't directly mention the use of force, his comments drew an angry backlash from Taipei.
Tsai said only Taiwan's people can decide the future.
"We will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure."
Though Taiwan has repeatedly called for talks with Beijing, it refuses to deal with her and instead has branded her a separatist.
She warned her people on Sunday, "We do not have the privilege of letting down our guard."