Taiwan’s defense minister said Monday that the island nation’s armed forces have the capability to respond to aggression from China’s military amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
”Their intention is to slowly exhaust, to let you know that we have this power,” Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told reporters. “Our national forces have shown that, while you may have this power, we have countermeasures.”
On Sunday, China sent 27 warplanes into Taiwan’s airspace, leading the Taipei government to scramble fighter jets in response to the latest incursion by Beijing.
Chiu described the flights as “very serious” and said Taiwan will continue to examine the types of aircraft China uses as part of its military readiness.
The 18 fighter jets, five nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an aerial refueling plane flew into Taiwan’s defensive buffer zone before heading out into the Pacific Ocean and returning to mainland China.
Two days earlier, a bipartisan group of five US lawmakers traveled to Taiwan to show their support for the country’s President Tsai Ing-wen.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), one of those on the trip, tweeted that her office had received a “blunt message from the Chinese Embassy, telling me to call off the trip,” after news of the visit broke.
Taiwan has been self-ruled since the two sides split during a civil war in 1949, but China considers the island part of its own territory. The US does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and acknowledges — but does not recognize — the claim that Taiwan is part of China.
In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian claimed that the unification of Taiwan and China is an “unstoppable historical trend.”
“That individual U.S. politicians wantonly challenge the one-China principle and embolden the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces has aroused the strong indignation of 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Zhao said.
Earlier this month, the US-China Economic Economic and Security Review Commission warned lawmakers that Beijing “has already achieved the capabilities needed to conduct an air and naval blockade, cyberattacks, and missile strikes against Taiwan.”
The report went on to suggest that Chinese military leaders likely believe they have or will soon have the capability to carry out a “high-risk invasion of Taiwan if ordered to do so” and warned that deterrence by the US military presence in the region “has become less certain.”
With Post Wires