Amid increasing incidents of Chinese jets buzzing and lingering in Taiwanese airspace, and amid Chinese aircraft carrier drills near the island, the country has said it would fight to the death if China attacked.
“From my limited understanding of American decision makers watching developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility of China launching an attack against Taiwan,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters at his ministry.
“We are willing to defend ourselves without any questions and we will fight the war if we need to fight the war. And if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”
Since Monday, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning has led drills near Taiwan, in what was seen as a counter to the US-led naval exercises of ‘Quad’ nations perceived as a possible maritime counter to China: India, Australia, the US and Japan.
Wu said they were determined to improve their military capabilities and spend more on defence.
“The defence of Taiwan is our responsibility. We will try every way we can to improve our defence capability.”
Two weeks prior, after two Taiwanese fighter jets collided in mid-air, the country grounded its entire F-5E fleet. The incident, the third crash in six months, comes as Taiwan copes with countering dozens of Chiense incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Taiwan plans to hold a series of war-games comprising computer simulations of what a Chinese invasion would look like, between April 23-30. The “Joint Theatre Level Simulation” will run 24 hours a day.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have simmered for years, but signs are mounting that the situation could escalate. A senior US military official in a recent congressional hearing even said that a Chinese military move on Taiwan could come within six years.
A day after China began its carrier drills near Taiwan, the US Navy said its Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group had entered the South China Sea to conduct routine operations, its second such visit this year. US President Joe Biden has stressed that the US committent to Taiwan is “rock solid”. Earlier in March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made waves when he referred to Taiwan as a country, breaking with the so-called “One China policy” that Beijing uses to bully other nations into not recognising Taiwan’s sovereignty.