Taiwan will not start a war with China, but will defend itself “to the hilt,” Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Thursday, amid rising tensions between the two countries that have alarmed the world community.
Military tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, are at an all-time high, according to Chiu, who also predicted that by 2025, China will be capable of waging a “full-scale” invasion.
China launched four days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone this month, beginning on Oct. 1, with 77 planes flying into Taiwan’s air identification zone.
Although no shots have been fired and Chinese planes have stayed far clear of Taiwanese airspace, Taiwan, a major global chip supplier, has now stated that it will defend itself if attacked, but will not “move rashly.”
“What is obvious is that the Republic of China will not instigate or launch a war,” Chiu said during a parliament committee meeting, using Taiwan’s official name. “But if there are movements, we would meet the enemy full on.”
In a briefing to parliament before of Chiu’s appearance before MPs, the ministry warned China that if its military approached the island, it would face severe retaliation.
According to Reuters, Chiu agreed with a lawmaker’s assessment that China’s capabilities were limited by a lack of mid-air refueling capability, which meant that only H-6 bombers and Y-8 anti-submarine and reconnaissance planes could fly into the Bashi Channel, which separates Taiwan and the Philippines.
“Their goals are to put pressure on Taiwan on the one hand, and to show the rest of the world that we have the power to scare away and obstruct foreign military forces from getting involved on the other,” he said.
On Wednesday, China described its military actions as a “fair” response to threats to peace and stability, and accused Taiwan’s “collusion” with foreign forces – a veiled reference to the US – for the escalation of tensions.
China’s Washington embassy announced on Wednesday, October 13, that it had reported to the US government about a meeting between Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US and senior US diplomats, as well as Taiwan’s army chief, Hsu Yen-visit pu’s to the US.
“The United States should not fantasize (about) seeking China’s backing and collaboration while recklessly breaching China’s red line on Taiwan,” it warned.