Taiwan Needs to Prepare for Military Conflict With China, Says Foreign Minister

Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu at a news conference in Taipei
Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu at a news conference in Taipei

Taiwan foreign minister Joseph Wu has warned that the self-ruled island “needs to prepare” for a possible military conflict with China. In an interview with CNN, Wu said that the government of Taiwan cannot take any chances, given China’s unwillingness to renounce the use of force and frequent military exercises around the island.

The warning comes a week after the island reported the largest daily incursion by the Chinese air force as they entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The incursion involved 14 J-16 and six J-11 fighters, as well as four H-6 bombers, which can carry nuclear weapons, and anti-submarine, electronic warfare and early warning aircraft, as per Taiwan’s defence ministry.

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The latest incursion is the largest since the defence ministry began regularly reporting PLA activities in Taiwan’s ADIZ last year. The previous record was of 25 aircraft reported on April 12, 2021. In the past, China has described such missions as necessary to protect the country’s sovereignty and to deal with “collusion” between Taiwan and the United States.

“As Taiwan decision-makers, we cannot take any chances, we have to be prepared,” Wu told CNN in Taipei. “When the Chinese government is saying they would not renounce the use of force, and they conduct military exercises around Taiwan, we would rather believe that it is real.”

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Beijing has been pushing for “peaceful reunification” of Taiwan with China under “one country, two systems”, which has threatened Taiwan’s claim of sovereignty. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen has long maintained that the self-governed island can not accept China’s “one country, two systems” policy which undermines the “cross-strait status quo.”

Wu said that China’s attempt to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy using draconian security law has shown that Taiwan’s sovereignty is crucial to protect the world’s only Chinese speaking democracy. “If you look at the situation in Hong Kong, it is a modern tragedy,” Wu said.

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The Group of Seven richest democracies, or G7, recently issued a joint communique underscoring the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.