A Chinese blockade of Taiwan, or the capture of an island in the sea, would be considered an act of war and the nation would not surrender, a senior Taiwanese security official told Reuters in unusually strong and direct language.
Although Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen and other members of her government have repeatedly said that while they want peace, they would defend themselves if attacked, the details of what they would consider an attack that warranted a response were not given, given the many scenarios.
Chinese military action may not be as straightforward as a full frontal assault. It could include actions such as a blockade to try to force Taiwan to accept Chinese rule, strategists say.
Tensions between Beijing and Taipei have increased since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in early August.
To show its anger, China mounted military exercises around Taiwan, which included firing missiles and measures to mount a blockade. Since then, the Chinese have continued their military activities, albeit on a smaller scale.
This focused attention on Taiwan and capitals of friendly countries such as the United States and Japan, on how any conflict with China could play out and how Taiwan and its allies could respond.
Taiwan’s top security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China’s exercises following the Pelosi visit showed what could happen if the worst happened, and focused thinking on how Taiwan would react.
“A blockade is an act of war; taking an offshore island is an act of war,” the official said, adding that Taipei believes Beijing is unlikely to take any of these actions at this time.
“Their only purpose for taking is to force us to negotiate or surrender. But we will not surrender or negotiate,” she continued.
Barring a direct invasion, many military strategists, and even the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, explain that China could try to take one of Taiwan’s offshore islands, such as the Kinmen and Matsu archipelagos off the coast of China.
“These are military actions. There is no room for ambiguity.”
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The official further revealed that Taipei has not ruled out Beijing launching large-scale military exercises near Taiwan next year as the island prepares for a presidential election in early 2024.
“That’s what we’re concerned about at the moment,” the official said, adding that other possible Chinese actions could intensify its “gray zone” tactics near Taiwan, including incursions with militia boats or cyber attacks.
The official said countries other than the United States, which sail warships through the Taiwan Strait about once a month, should show Beijing that an attack will not go unanswered.
“Building deterrence is very important. Not only the United States, European countries and Japan must join the force of deterrence.”
US President Joe Biden announced Sunday that US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, his most explicit statement on the matter.
With the world’s most advanced semiconductors being produced in Taiwan, it is in the world’s interest to ensure stability, the official claimed.
“The pressure in the Taiwan Strait is putting pressure on chip supplies.”
Tsai, who said Taiwan would not provoke China or “move forward too precipitously,” has made strengthening defense a priority, including a double-digit increase in spending on the issue next year.
While China has said it prefers peaceful “reunification” and has offered Taiwan a Hong Kong-style autonomy deal, it has never renounced the use of force to bring the island under its control.
Taiwan’s democratically elected government says only its people can decide the future.
Source: CNN Brasil
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