Taiwan defence report warns of China invasion risk

China still sees Taiwan as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold, by force if necessary, even though the island has been self-governing since the two sides split after a civil war in 1949.

Beijing is deeply suspicious of president Tsai Ing-wen, whose Democratic Progressive Party is traditionally pro-independence.

Taiwan has never declared formal independence and last week China’s premier Li Keqiang said authorities would not tolerate “any attempts to separate Taiwan from the motherland”.

It has severed all official communications with Taipei since Tsai became leader in May and has reportedly discouraged Chinese visitors from travelling to the island.

In a summary of a four-yearly report to be delivered to parliament on Thursday, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it wanted to build a bolstered “multi-layer defence front” including submarines, missiles and drones which it hoped would act as a deterrent.

If there was still an attempted invasion, combined interception forces would “weaken the enemy’s capabilities and crush its attacks to deter it from landing on the island”.

The report summary said Beijing had never given up on its desire to invade.

“Preparing for a war to invade Taiwan is a major goal of its military preparation,” the summary said.

It added China’s military expenses had been growing and its resources had seen “rapid modernisation”.

In contrast, Taiwan had limited capabilities and was suffering from a lack of soldiers.

To address its weaknesses, the island would focus on developing three key areas – aerospace, shipbuilding and information security – and would seek to develop more of its own weapons, the ministry said.

Beijing sent its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, through the Taiwan Strait in January as a show of strength, but it did not enter Taiwanese waters.

Since then Taiwan has announced a ramping up of its military, including the development of new stealth fighter jets and a locally built fleet of jet trainers.

Currently the United States, its most powerful ally, is its main arms supplier, even though the two sides do not have official diplomatic ties after Washington switched recognition to Beijing in 1979.

There have been concerns Taiwan will become a bargaining chip between the US and China since Donald Trump angered Beijing with a protocol-busting telephone conversation with Tsai following his election victory.

Trump and China’s president Xi Jinping subsequently smoothed over the dispute in a phone call in which the US leader reiterated Washington’s adherence to the “one China” policy that nominally endorses Beijing’s claim to Taiwan.

China and the United States are currently discussing arrangements for a summit between Trump and Xi.

The defence ministry report made little mention of US ties, saying only that the US “maintains its deployment in Asia Pacific” and conducts military drills with allies.

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This entry was posted in China - Taiwan, One-China policy and tagged , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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