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, Mr 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.
Mr 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.
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.
However, US President Joe Biden said his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had agreed to abide by the “Taiwan agreement”.
Mr Biden appeared to be referring to Washington’s longstanding “one China” policy under which it recognises China rather than Taiwan.
However, this agreement also allows Washington to maintains a “robust unofficial” relationship with Taiwan. The US sells arms to Taiwan as part of Washington’s Taiwan Relations Act, which states that the US must help Taiwan defend itself. -BBCRead Full Story