New Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te used his inauguration speech Monday in Taipei to deliver a clear message to Beijing and its aspirations for unifying the democratic island with the mainland: Taiwan will not be subordinate to China.

Lai, who pledged to protect stability and maintain the status quo in the island’s fraught relationship with Beijing, took aim at China in an address in which he stressed that “peace is the only option” amid rising concerns of conflict.

“I also want to call on China to cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan, share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as the greater region, and ensure that the world is free from the fear of war,” Lai said before former U.S. officials dispatched by President Joe Biden, as well as lawmakers from countries including Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada.