Taipei/Beijing, Apr 7 (efe-epa).- Taiwan will fight to the “last day” if attacked by China, the foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said Wednesday.
He added at a press conference that Taiwan’s “friends” the United States and Japan were watching Chinese military maneuvers in the region closely.
“We are willing to defend ourselves and without any question. If we need to defend ourselves to the very last day we will defend ourselves to the very last day,” Wu said.
“We are willing to increase our defense budget, and we are willing to reorganize our military, according to the needed strategy overall defense concept, or try to beef up our reserve forces,” he added.
The Chinese Navy on Tuesday said it would continue military training in waters near Taiwan on a “regular basis”. The recent drills involved the Liaoning aircraft carrier, officials confirmed.
Taiwan’s defense department said it observed a total of 15 Chinese planes flying over the island’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ).
On 26 March, Taiwanese officials said they detected the biggest incursion of Chinese military planes in the ADIZ since September 2020. It came just after Taipei and Washington signed the first deal of the Joe Biden era.
Taiwan’s head of marine affairs said authorities had detected Chinese drones near the disputed Pratas islands, adding that Taipei would be permitted to down them if they entered Taiwanese territory.
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing have escalated since Taiwan’s pro-independence president Tsai Ing-wen came to power in 2016.
They were further exacerbated during the White House tenure of Donald Trump, who gave priority to strengthening ties with Taipei, including in the ambit of arms sales. The US formally cut ties with Taiwan in 1979, but has maintained close informal relations with Taipei.
When asked whether Taipei would seek to purchase more weaponry from the US, Wu said: “I would like to also stress again that the defense of Taiwan is our own responsibility. If we are not willing to defend ourselves, we do not have the right to ask other countries to sacrifice for Taiwan.”
Wu added: “We have been threatened by the Chinese militarily, for years. And this is not a particularly alarming type of situation. But we need to look at it from a broader perspective (…) if you look at the Chinese military movement in the last couple of years they have been increasing their frequency.
“In the face of the Chinese outward expansionism of its authoritarianism, Taiwan is on the front line.”
Beijing considers Taiwan to be a part of the People’s Republic of China. The region broke away at the end of the civil war 70 years ago, when nationalist Kuomintang troops fled the mainland following the victory of the communist forces. EFE-EPA