"We have to let Xi Jinping and the Chinese government understand: If they choose some military way to invade Taiwan, the cost will be so high that they can't afford it", Wang Ting-yu, a DPP lawmaker heads Taiwan's national defense committee, told Bloomberg Television.
After Tsai's victory, China doubled its "principle of one China", and Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang emphasized: "There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China".
But since the 1980s, it has morphed into one of Asia's most progressive democracies, although it is only diplomatically recognised by a dwindling handful of countries.
Countries that have also expressed their desire to continue friendly relations with Taiwan include, Eswatini, Palau, Nauru, Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Haiti, Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent.More news: Kim Kardashian Packs Into Barely There Pink Bikini, "About To Pop Out"
The president's comments come days after China's top diplomat said that unification with China was a "historical inevitability" and that anyone who opposed it would "stink for 10,000 years", an idiom to mean someone will go down in infamy.
She said that she is also aware that China may increase its pressure on Taiwan as a result of her election victory. "We have a separate identity and we're a country of our own".
For President Tsai's critics, her stance is needlessly provocative, one that only risks increasing the very danger she warns about - open hostility. "We're a successful democracy, we have a pretty decent economy, we deserve respect from China", she said in the interview. To this extent, the statement could cause problems for Beijing if the Trump administration listens to her at this stage.
"Her administration will continue to seek to enhance Taiwan's military capabilities through both USA weaponry and development of indigenous defense systems", said Zhang Baohui, a professor of political science and director of the Centre for Asian Pacific Studies at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.More news: Canadian Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, father of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson dies
China's strategies towards wresting control over Taiwan are believed to include using special forces to seize key military, political and economic infrastructure sites, while degrading the island's defences with aerial bombing and missile attacks.
Tsai said she was open to dialogue with China but asked Beijing to respect the island nation's "sovereignty".
But the strong-arm tactics backfired with voters resoundingly backing Tsai for another four more years.More news: European Tour's new slow play regulations come in to effect this week