‘Weakness Invites Aggression’: Taiwan ‘to Beef Up Defence Capabilities’ Amid Beijing-Taipei Tensions
15:02 GMT 27.10.2021 (Updated: 18:35 GMT 19.10.2022)
China continues to regard Taiwan as a breakaway province, while Taipei has repeatedly rejected Beijing's proposal to adhere to the "one country, two systems" principle.
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has emphasised the importance of Taipei strengthening its defence capabilities in the face of growing tensions between the island and Mainland China.
He told reporters on Wednesday that the situation in the Taiwan Strait “is growing tense and seems to be growing more dangerous” and that “there are several things we have been doing and are trying to do again and again”.
“[The] first [priority] is to beef up our defence capabilities. We think weakness is inviting aggression, and therefore we want to have the ability to defend ourselves, we are determined to defend ourselves”, Wu pointed out.
According to him, the second imperative is to bolster cooperation with friendly nations on the international stage.
The remarks come after Taiwan's Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters earlier this month that China could be capable of mounting a "full-scale" invasion of the island by 2025. The minister also argued that the China-Taiwan tensions are now at their worst in 40 years.
This was echoed by Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, who warned that although her government was not interested in a military conflict, the island would do "whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life".
The warning followed a report in The Wall Street Journal that cited unnamed sources as saying that about two dozen US special operations forces and Marines had secretly trained Taiwanese troops "for at least a year".
23 June 2021, 05:49 GMT
In a separate development, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that his country's peaceful "reunification" with Taiwan under a "one country, two systems" policy will "definitely" be implemented.
“To achieve the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means is most in line with the overall interests of the Chinese nation, including our compatriots in Taiwan", Xi stressed, urging Taipei to "stand on the right side of history jointly to create the glorious cause of the full reunification and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".
In a sign of mounting tensions, the Chinese military sent almost 40 fighter jets to fly near Taiwan's air defence identification zone for two days in a row in early October. Taiwan's Prime Minister Su Tseng-chang responded by condemning the flights as "brutal and barbarian actions", which he claimed were jeopardising regional peace.
The situation is exacerbated by the US repeatedly sending its warships to the Taiwan Strait, which separates the island from the mainland. China sees such missions as provocations, describing Washington as "the destroyer of peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait and "a security risk creator in the region".
Officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan severed all ties with Mainland China in 1949, in the wake of the Chinese Civil War.
At the time, forces led by then-Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party Mao Zedong of the People's Republic of China (PRC) defeated ROC’s Kuomintang party nationalists and forced them to flee to the island.
13 October 2021, 06:28 GMT
With both the ROC and the PRC claiming the country's territory, the UN recognised the PRC as the one and only legal China in 1971. Beijing considers the island an integral part of the country, and adheres to a policy of peaceful reunification under the "One China – Two Systems" model.
The US does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but maintains a representative office in Taipei, remaining the island’s biggest supplier of military hardware.