21:52 GMT04 July 2020
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    China has intensified its drills near Taiwan in the wake of the adoption of the US National Defense Authorization Act that lays out the groundwork for future mutual naval visits between Taipei and Washington.

    Taiwan is "seriously reviewing and drawing up a plan to develop asymmetric warfare to deter advances by the Chinese military," Taiwanese Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said in the annual national defense review released on Tuesday.

    The report noted the David versus Goliath mismatch between Beijing and Taipei, saying that the Taiwanese army of 210,000 troops has to adopt a "multiple deterrence strategy" in order to face a fast-growing Chinese army, totaling some two million troops.

    "Taiwan cannot compare with China's defense budget and military developments," Feng said in the report, alleging that frequent Chinese drills "have created an enormous threat to security in the Taiwan Strait."

    At the same time, according to the report, Taiwan has established a cyber army command center with 1,000 employees in response to increased Chinese electronic warfare capabilities.

    China has held at least 20 drills this year, compared to eight in 2016. The latest drills near Taiwan were held last week, with China's aircraft flying through the Bashi Channel that separates Taiwan from the Philippines and then returning back through the Strait of Miyako between Taiwan and Japan.

    READ MORE: Taiwan Sends Aircraft, Ships to 'Monitor and Deal With' Chinese Transport Plane

    China has intensified its drills in the region after Tsai Ing-wen, who took office last year, refused to acknowledge that both sides are part of "One China." The Chinese authorities reportedly believe that Tsai Ing-wen may call for a referendum on the island's formal independence next year.

    At the same time, Beijing has accused Washington of meddling in its internal affairs after President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law earlier this month and warned Taipei against relying on foreign powers for its security.

    The act lays the foundation for future mutual naval drills between Taiwan and the United States, though, officially, the US doesn't recognize Taiwan as a separate country, with Donald Trump saying that Washington sticks to the "One China" policy.

    While formally the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, remain a single country as each considers the other as "renegade provinces," Beijing has repeatedly called it "the most sensitive issue" in its relationships with the United States.


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