Taiwan Defense Chief: China Could Soon Mount 'Full-Scale' Invasion

Chiu Kuo-cheng says tensions are worst in 40 years
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2021 10:10 AM CDT
Taiwan Defense Chief: Tensions With China Are 'Most Serious'
In this undated file photo, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location. China flew more than 30 military planes toward Taiwan on Saturday, the second large display of force in as many days.   (Taiwan Ministry of National Defense via AP, File)

After a weekend incursion of Chinese fighter jets into Taiwan's air defense zone, relations between the two states are—well, not great. In fact, Taiwan's defense chief on Wednesday said that military tensions with China are the "most serious" they've been in more than four decades, and that if left unchecked they could lead to a "misfire" across the Taiwan Strait that separates the two, reports Reuters. Although the air defense zone, which spreads over the 100-mile-wide body of water and into a good section of mainland China, isn't in Taiwan's airspace, Taiwan considers jets crossing an unofficial line between them an incursion, per the BBC.

"For me as a military man, the urgency is right in front of me," Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told a parliamentary committee after the four-day incident that began Friday and saw nearly 150 Chinese aircraft encroaching on the island of Taiwan, which insists it's a sovereign nation; China disagrees, claiming the territory as its own. Chiu, who was pushing lawmakers to consider an $8.6 billion spending plan for the next five years that would provide for such defense resources as warships and missiles, noted that he believed China could launch a "full-scale" invasion by 2025.

The Guardian reports that China has vowed to take Taiwan by force if it needs to, while Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, has said that Taiwan will do "whatever it takes" to defend itself. Meanwhile, President Biden on Wednesday said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to adhere to the "Taiwan agreement." Analysts say it's not clear if Biden is referring to a private conversation he may have had with Xi, or if he's simply referring to DC's longtime "one China" policy, which recognizes Beijing instead of Taipei, on the condition that Taiwan's future is dealt with peacefully; that is not the same as China's "one China" principle, which claims Taiwan as its own. (More China stories.)

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