In the midst of rising tensions, Taiwan’s defense minister said the country will’meet enemies full on’ if necessary, but will not launch a conflict.
Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told a legislative committee hearing on Thursday that the island will defend itself if attacked, but that it will not provoke violence and prefers to keep things as they are.
What is certain is that the Republic of China [Taiwan] will not initiate or initiate a conflict; however, if there are any movements, we will confront the enemy head-on.
Chiu claimed that Beijing was attempting to exert pressure on Taiwan, which it believes to be a part of China, while also warning Western countries not to get involved in the island’s independence conflict.
The minister agreed with a lawmaker who said China’s air force was limited by limited air-to-air refueling capacity and that only a small number of Beijing’s planes had flown over the Bashi Channel, a body of water that separates Taiwan from the Philippines and sits some distance from mainland China.
In recent breaches into Taiwan’s air defense zone, Chinese aircraft have stayed closer to the mainland, according to maps made up by Chiu’s ministry.
In recent weeks, China has increased its military activity, flying more planes into Taiwan’s air defense zone.
On Monday, Chinese military conducted beach landing and assault drills in Fujian province’s southern region, which is just across the water from Taiwan. The drills included “shock” troops, sappers, and boat specialists, according to the official People’s Liberation Army Daily newspaper.
The exercise was “totally just,” according to Ma Xiaoguang, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, and was a response to Taipei’s “bogus claims” against Beijing and coordination with foreign countries.
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