Taiwan says China raising military heat

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

China is stepping up military preparedness to overtake Taiwan, the island's Foreign Minister
Joseph Wu said today, following a recent increase in  Chinese drills near the island which Beijing considers its own, Reuters reports.

Taiwan has complained that China has stepped up threatening military activities near Taiwan in recent months. Beijing has not renounced the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control.

"Looking on the long-term trend, China appears to be
gradually stepping up its military preparedness, especially in air or on the waters near Taiwan," Wu told reporters.

"What China is doing now is continuing to ramp up
preparedness to solve the Taiwan issue," he said. "The threat is on the rise."

Beijing routinely says such exercises are nothing unusual and are designed to show the country's determination to defend its sovereignty.

Taiwan's defense ministry in June reported eight incidents of intrusion of Chinese military planes in its air defende identification zone, in which Taiwan jets gave radio warnings to usher the intruders out of the airspace.

Wu said such intrusions "happened almost every day" in June and were "much more frequent" than what the government had disclosed to the public. He said China has also made several "simulated" military attacks on Taiwan.

"These behaviors worry us," Wu said, adding that Taiwan was deepening its security ties with allies, including the United States which has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is its strongest international backer and main arms supplier.

Wu said attacking Taiwan could be a "very convenient scapegoat" for the Chinese government to divert domestic pressure, which he said is struggling with a fast-slowing economy amid the coronavirus pandemic and the  floods.