The Taiwanese foreign minister called on the international community to help defend his country against the growing military threat from China, fearing a “real possibility” of war.
Minister Joseph Wu’s comments come ahead of the expected arrival in Taiwan on Thursday of US Deputy Secretary of Economic Affairs Keith Cracch with a delegation for a two-day visit.
In an editorial late Wednesday, Chinese state media Global Times said Taiwan was “destroying its strategic maneuverability by fully joining the United States,”
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it believed the visit would “deepen friendships and strengthen relations between like-minded partners.”
Wu’s comments echoed earlier calls by President Cai Ying-wen for a coalition of states to take a stand against “authoritarian aggression” as China intensified military and economic pressure in the region.
There have been reports of unprecedented U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, including mines, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, ahead of a visit to Krach.
Wu told France 24 television that Taiwan was “on the front line, protecting democracies from being taken over by communist China” and needed help.
“Over the last few years, we have been trying hard to improve our own defense capabilities, and at the same time we want to allow the international community to understand that Taiwan as a democracy is threatened by China, an authoritarian state trying to expand its influence,” Wu said. . He cited China’s actions in the South China Sea, Hong Kong and its disputed border with India.
“We believe that like-minded countries or fellow democracies need to pay more attention to this area and help each other so that China’s motivation for enlargement can be hampered.”
Although the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, Beijing considers Taiwan part of China and has accused the Tsai-led government of separatism. Beijing has never ruled out seizing Taiwan by force, and in particular, there has been an increase in defense and military exercises in recent months. Wu said more than 30 People’s Liberation Army planes had recently crossed into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.
The minister said Taiwan praised the United States for “continuing to show its presence in the region”, adding: “I think this is a show for the Chinese country that its military threat against other peaceful countries would not be tolerated.”
The United States has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but Donald Trump has increasingly supported Tapei, both for a successful response to the pandemic and for his stance against Chinese aggression.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that the United States plans to sell up to seven weapons systems to Taiwan, a rare concentration of sales after years of remote transactions.
Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States supplies the Taiwanese government with weapons, the quantity and quality of which then-President Ronald Reagan said was determined in 1982 “entirely by the threat posed by China.” [People’s Republic of China]”.
The United States has announced more than $ 23 billion in arms sales to Taiwan over the past 10 years, according to a 2019 Defense Department report.
Taiwan’s defense ministry declined to comment on reported arms sales, saying it had handled such talks in a modest and confidential manner and would wait for Congress to be notified of any sales.
Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the United States of directly interfering in territorial and maritime disputes in the region, stretching muscles and strengthening its military deployment. “Such actions are becoming the biggest factor fueling militarization in the South China Sea,” Wang said.
Krach is scheduled to attend a memorial service for the late Taiwanese President Lee Tenghui and will discuss “how to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation,” the US State Department said.
Krah’s visit follows a new economic dialogue between the two governments, a high-level visit by US Secretary of Health Alex Hazard and the speaker of the Czech parliament, whose visit sparked a diplomatic dispute with China that sparked other European countries.