Taiwan: China have ability for ‘full scale invasion’ by 2025 says expert
Speaking to Taiwan citizens on it’s national day, the President of self-declared autonomous state, Tsai Ing-wen said: “There should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure.” She went on to say: “We will continue to bolster our national defence and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid for us.”
The tension has increased since Chinese President Xi Jinping announced last week: “No one should underestimate the Chinese people’s staunch determination, firm will, and strong ability to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity… The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled.”
In the past, Xi as threatened to “smash” any notion of Taiwanese independence, and has previously used the threat of force in doing so.
Responding to the statement by the Taiwanese President, Zhang Wensheng of Xiamen University said to China’s Global Times newspaper of the speech by Tsai Ing-wen that it was “filled with resentment against the Chinese mainland because she is an enemy of the state”.
The academic then went on to say: “If [Tsai] continues such provocative acts, the mainland will have no choice but to take it to the battlefield.”
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Another comment to the paper by a Chinese military expert said: “Resisting reunification by force will only bring doom more quickly to Taiwan secessionists.”
China has taken to the skies above the region with a powerful show of force in recent days and weeks, with multiple fighter jets and nuclear-capable bombers flying close to the Island.
As both soft and hard power are put on show, some warn of dire consequences that could lead to a conflict, with the more pessimistic stating World War 3 is on the table.
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The tone of voice fluctuated significantly in the speech by the Taiwanese President, suggesting diplomacy was also an option.
“We hope for an easing of… relations (with Beijing) and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure,” she said.
However, Taiwan may feel rather alone in their rhetoric against China.
Out of the 193 UN nations, only 15 states recognise Taiwan. The US, although not part of the list, does have a law binding them to protect Taiwan.
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China have recently demonstrated a show of force in the skies around Taiwan
A spokesperson from the US Department of State said: “We urge Beijing to cease its military, diplomatic, and economic pressure against Taiwan and instead engage in meaningful dialogue with Taiwan.”
Reports have emerged that the US has sent dozens of marines to the Island, following the Taiwanese Defence Minister saying the situation is “the toughest I have seen in more than 40 years of my military life”.
The Defence Minister predicted has the capacity to invade Taiwan within four years, however, at the current pace of tension, and should diplomacy not intervene, this could be much quicker if China act on their words.
Warning of the impact on the wider region, and across the world, Ms Tsai said: “The global political landscape is undergoing drastic change… Free and democratic countries around the world have been alerted to the expansion of authoritarianism, with Taiwan standing on democracy’s first line of defence.”
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China simply recognises the island as part of the One China policy. Opinions in Taiwan appear to be different, with many of the younger generation believing their island is an independent country.
China’s crackdown in Hong Kong, a city Beijing said would be a model for how it would rule Taiwan, has also done little to endear Taiwanese to assurances that their way of life would continue under communist party rule.
Calling the speech by Ms Tsai a complete farce, Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said: “Our crackdown against Taiwan secessionists is targeting the DPP and secessionist forces, rather than Taiwan compatriots. The DPP cannot fool the Taiwan public or the international community by creating bad blood and obscuring the facts.”
The US and its allies have increased their naval presence in the South China Sea, and along with the UK and Australia, recently signed a pact dubbed AUKUS, in a deal to build nuclear submarines in Australia, reportedly to confront rising Chinese influence in the region.