Taiwan’s Foreign Minister on April 7 said the island would defend itself “until the last day” if attacked by China.
Joseph Wu said China’s reconciliation efforts while engaging in military threats are sending “mixed signals” to islanders.
China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be regained either peacefully or by force.
Mr. Wu noted that China dispatched 10 fighters into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on April 5 and deployed a carrier strike group for exercises near Taiwan.
Wu told reporters: “We are ready to defend ourselves, there is nothing to argue with. “We will fight if we need to fight, and if we need to protect ourselves to the end, then we will protect ourselves until the end.”
China does not recognize Taiwan’s democratically elected government, and leader Xi Jinping has said that “unity” between the parties cannot be delayed indefinitely.
“On the one hand, they want to seduce the people of Taiwan by sending their condolences [in the wake of a deadly train accident]But at the same time they are also sending military aircraft and military ships near Taiwan for the purpose of intimidating the people of Taiwan, ”Wu said at a ministry meeting.
“The Chinese are sending very mixed signals to the people of Taiwan and I think it is self-defeat,” Wu said.
Significant improvements in China’s military capabilities and its growing operations around Taiwan have raised concerns in the United States, which is legally bound to secure Taiwan. being able to defend itself and considers all threats to the security of the island “of serious concern” matters.
US military leaders have warned that China may be speeding up the timetable to gain control of Taiwan. “We have signs that the risks are really increasing,” Adm Philip Davidson, pointed out. America’s highest-level military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, said a Senate panel last month, mentioned a Chinese military move toward Taiwan.
“The threat is already present in this decade – in fact, over the next six years,” Davidson said.
A few days later, the expected successor of Davidson, Adm. John Aquilino, declined to step back from the 6-year timeframe but told senators at his confirmation hearing: “My opinion is, this issue is much closer to us than it is. thinking of most people. “
Chinese officials scoffed at Davidson’s comments on Taiwan. Defense Department spokesman Colonel Ren Guoqiang urged Washington to “abandon non-peaceful thinking” and do more to build mutual trust and stability. He said that “outside forces’ efforts to use Taiwan to find ways to contain China, or the use of military means by Taiwan’s independence forces to achieve independence, are all about dead end”.
The predictions of when China might decide to try to reunite Taiwan with the mainland have long been different and there is no unified stance in the United States. Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, said last week he doubted China’s leaders were willing to coerce the matter.
“I don’t think it’s coming soon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wu said the military threat against his country is growing and although he says it hasn’t been “particularly alarming”, what has the Chinese military been doing over the past few years which he calls “real war” exercises closer to the island.
The Chinese military said on April 5 that the new naval exercises are intended to help the country “protect national sovereignty, security and development interests,” terms commonly understood as targeting the leadership. Taiwan, which refused to give in to Beijing’s request for recognition of the island. as part of Chinese territory.
Taiwan and China split during the civil war in 1949, and most Taiwanese favor maintaining de facto independence while engaging in strong economic exchanges with the mainland.
China has facilitated more economic integration, while targeting some communities such as pineapple farmers in hopes of undermining their support for the island government.
China’s diplomatic pressure is also increasing, reducing the number of Taiwan’s official diplomatic allies to just 15 allies and the elimination of the country’s representation from the World Health Assembly and other shows. other major international herds.
Taiwan has responded by promoting high-tech industries and informal external relations, especially with key partners such as the US, Japan and others, and by building its own defense industry, including the submarine development program, and the purchase of US fighters, upgraded missiles, and other military equipment.