President Trump's at times warm, at times contentious relationship with his Chinese counterpart has been an exercise in cognitive dissonance that's reflective of a broader truth about the relationship between the world's two largest economies.
The veneer of economic cooperation belies deeper military tensions as China's expansionist military aims threaten US security in the Pacific.
Just last week, the top US Navy commander in the Pacific warned that China represents the “greatest long-term strategic threat to a free and open Indo-Pacific and to the United States."
And the country's insistence on carrying on with its military buildup in the South China Sea, one of the most vital waterways for global trade, has angered the US and nearly all of its neighbors.
But while the US public labors under the illusion that a military conflict with the Chinese is only a vague possibility somewhere off in the indeterminate future, for the island of Taiwan, China's increasing muscular military presence in the region is a daily threat that requires 24/7 vigilance, according to CNN.
In the face of the growing threat (Beijing has carried out military exercises in the Strait of Taiwan to try and intimidate Tsai) the president said that she was strengthening Taiwan's military capabilities in the face of China's rapid modernization, and that Taiwan would be "on alert 24/7" for the first sign of a Chinese strike.
"What we are expecting is, after withstanding the first wave of Chinese attacks ourselves, the rest of the world would stand up to exert strong pressure on China," she said.
"Taiwan society will not accept any treaty that harms Taiwan's national sovereignty and democracy," Tsai told reporters in Taipei on Wednesday, adding that there would not be real peace unless China ruled out using force to bring Taiwan under its control.