Taiwan has long turned to the United States for protection from the mainland forces of mainland China, 100 miles to the west. Taipei is now calling for strong defensive ties with Washington amid growing fears of a potential conflict as Beijing’s military planes operate regular flights, threatening a unification by force.
Liberation Army planes continued to enter Taiwan’s declared air defense identification throughout the weekend, even as the self-governing island celebrated National Day, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty and the creation of the Republic of China, officially called Taiwan.
But while the rival People’s Republic of China announced its presence, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ying-wen also sent a military message.
The Taiwanese leader promised to buy and build more powerful military equipment during Saturday’s celebrations.
“We will continue to modernize our defense capabilities and accelerate the upgrading of our asymmetric capabilities to deal with military expansion and provocation on the other side of the Taiwan Strait,” Tsai said. “While we are procuring military hardware, we are still committed to promoting our national self-defense capabilities.”
She also called for stability and dialogue between the straits, but her words seemed lost to Beijing, where President Xi Jinping promised to consolidate control over Taiwan by military action if a peaceful path does not develop.
The Taiwanese military said Sunday that Chinese anti-Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft continue a daily series of flights across the disputed Strait, which is the de facto division between the People’s Republic of China led by the Chinese Communist Party and Taiwan, a democracy officially called the Republic. China.
With Chinese media like the Communist Party Global Times Increasing the chances of a full-scale war, Andrew Young, a spokesman for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, reaffirmed that Taiwan would double both local and acquired military forces to thwart the ongoing Chinese invasion.
“Taiwan will continue to increase investment in its defense, commensurate with the security challenges it faces,” Yang told Newsweek. “Taiwan will also seek security cooperation with the United States to build its defense systems that are cost-effective but deadly enough to make any invasion painful.”
The case of Taiwan’s sovereignty is among the most serious challenges facing US-China relations, which have reached historic lows in the past year.
Since 1972, the United States has adhered to the “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing’s claims to Taiwan. But it also maintains informal diplomatic and defense ties with Taipei, whose international ties have shrunk to 14 countries since the loss of the 1949 civil war. China has refused ties with any country that has recognized Taiwan, prompting much of the international community. to change relations as China has opened up economically to the West over the past half century.
The Trump administration has expanded the US’s informal relationship with Taiwan, which has become controversial as the two powers increasingly compete economically and geopolitically.
The Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military power last month noted that “China continues to view the Taiwan issue as the most important and sensitive issue between the United States and China.”
Chinese forces have staged large-scale demonstrations of military power in protest of recent visits by senior US officials to the island. One such series of exercises last month was dismissed as “aggressive and destabilizing” in comments sent to Newsweek by Pentagon spokesman John Supl.
As China’s rage against Taiwan’s US policy grows, some observers warn that the likelihood of conflict is growing.
“The situation is escalating, mainly due to power competition and maritime disputes,” the Beijing-based South China Maritime Probing Initiative told Newsweek in a statement.
The Beijing-affiliated think tank considers a possible military conflict between China and close members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be “unlikely”, challenging some of Beijing’s territorial claims, but said “the risk of conflict between China and the US is growing. “
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed the scenario in an interview Friday with radio host Hugh Hewitt. At the same time, he stressed that the Trump administration will continue to work with Taiwan against China’s wishes.
“These are the commitments that the United States must take on and take on,” Pompeo said. “We acknowledge that this is a point of conflict with the Chinese Communist Party. We do not want that. We want peace. But we will make sure that we fulfill all the obligations we have to Taiwan.”
Regional tensions remain high as the United States has stepped up military action near Taiwan and across the Asia-Pacific region, including in the nearby East and South China Seas, where the Pentagon has challenged broad Chinese naval claims.
After the USS class destroyer Arleigh Burke John McCain flying near the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands, but also claimed by ASEAN member Vietnam, a spokesman for China’s Southern Military Command, Senior Colonel Zhang Nandung, called on the United States on Friday to “immediately stop this kind of provocative action, strictly manage and control naval air military operations so as not to cause any trouble. “
The United States is seeking to woo regional states to put pressure on China as part of a plan for a “free and open Indo-Pacific Ocean.” Also on board are colleagues from the quadripartite security dialogue Australia, India and Japan, whose representatives met with Pompeo in Tokyo last week.
The best American diplomat gathered the three countries against the Chinese Communist Party, saying that “it is more important than ever to cooperate to protect our people and partners from exploitation, corruption and coercion by the CCP.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington rejected Pompeo’s remarks in a response sent to Newsweek.
“China is committed to peaceful development and firmly defends its sovereignty, security and development interests,” an embassy spokesman said.
“At the same time, she is committed to resolving differences with other countries through dialogue and consultation,” the spokesman added. “This is what we say, and also what we do. We do not accept reckless slander and baseless accusations against China.”