Military tension between Taiwan and China is at its highest level in 40 years after a record number of Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s airspace in recent days. This was reported by Taiwan’s defense minister in parliament.
“For the military, the current situation is the bleakest in more than 40 years,” Chiu Kuo-cheng said. Since China celebrated the national holiday on Friday, about 150 Chinese aircraft have already entered Taiwanese airspace. According to Chiu, the slightest carelessness or error of judgment could cause a crisis across the Taiwan Strait.
The minister also states that China will be able to carry out a large-scale attack by 2025. The country can do that today, but it must also consider the costs associated with any plans. “After 2025, the costs and losses will be minimized,” Chiu said, without giving more details.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who called it “inevitable” that China would take control of Taiwan, also called relations with Taiwan “bleak” in a letter to the head of Taiwan’s opposition. Beijing considers democratic Taiwan, which seceded from the mainland in 1949, a renegade province rather than an independent state.
Beijing has stepped up pressure on Taiwan since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who rejects the One-China policy. As recently as Tuesday, the president warned in an opinion piece of the “catastrophic consequences” should Taiwan fall into the hands of China.
Taiwan wants to live peacefully alongside China, but “if democracy and the way of life are threatened, Taiwan will do everything in its power to defend itself,” Tsai continued. Her government is asking China to stop the provocations as soon as possible.
Support from the United States
Taiwan also let it be known Wednesday that the United States has confirmed it will continue to stand behind the treaties surrounding Taiwan. President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he had spoken with Xi Jinping about this and that the Chinese president also agrees.
Biden was referring to the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the U.S. decision to establish diplomatic ties with China rests on the expectation that Taiwan’s future will be determined peacefully.