China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’

China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’

China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’

Written by Staff Writer

06 Oct, 2021 | 4:40 pm

(BBC) Tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years, Taiwan’s defence minister has said, warning of the risk of an accidental strike between the two.

Chiu Kuo-cheng’s comments came after China sent a “record number” of military jets into Taiwan’s air defence zone for four consecutive days.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state. China, however, views Taiwan as a breakaway province.

It has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.

While Chinese jets have not been flown all the way to the island, Chiu warned that there was a risk of a “misfire”.

Taiwan’s air defence zone, which it monitors for threats, extends over an area that covers the Taiwan Strait and a large swathe of the Chinese mainland.

They consider jets crossing an unofficial line between China and Taiwan as an incursion.

Chiu also warned China would be capable of mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025.

He was speaking as a parliamentary committee in Taipei considered a multi-billion-dollar defence spending bill to build missiles and warships.

Acknowledging that China already has the capacity to invade, he said such a move would get easier in coming years, though he did not elaborate.

Taiwan broke away from the mainland as communists seized power in 1949.

Analysts have warned that Beijing is becoming increasingly concerned that Taiwan’s government is moving the island towards a formal declaration of independence and wants to deter its President Tsai Ing-wen from taking any steps in that direction.

A number of Western allies of Taiwan have expressed concern at China’s open display of military might recently.

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