October 15, 2021: -On Thursday, Taiwan will not start a war with China but will defend itself “full-on,” Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said, amid a spike in tensions across the Taiwan Strait that is raising concern internationally. Taiwan, a significant semiconductor producer, has said it will defend itself if attacked but will not “advance rashly” and want to maintain the status quo with China.
“What is that the Republic of China will not start or set off a war, but if there are movements, we will meet the enemy full-on,” Chiu told a parliament committee meeting, uses the official name of Taiwan.
Military tensions with China, claiming Taiwan as its territory, are at their worst in more than 40 years, Chiu said in the previous week, adding that China will be capable of mounting a “full scale” invasion by 2025.
He was speaker after China mounted four consecutive days of mass air force incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone that started on October 1, part of a pattern of what Taipei views as stepped-up military harassment by Beijing.
No shots have been fired, and China’s aircraft have stayed away from Taiwan’s airspace, concentrating their activity in the southwestern corner of Taiwan’s air defense zone.
In a report to parliament ahead of Chiu’s appearance before lawmakers, the ministry warned China of strong countermeasures if its forces got too close to the island.
Chiu agreed with an assessment from a lawmaker that China’s abilities were constrained by a limited mid-air refueling capacity, meaning it has only H-6 bombers and Y-8 anti-submarine and reconnaissance aircraft that have flown into the Bashi Channel that it is separating Taiwan from the Philippines.
According to maps of their activity drawn up by Chiu’s ministry, Chinese fighters have kept much closer to China’s coast.
“They aim to pressure Taiwan, and on the other to say to everyone else we can scare away and obstruct foreign military forces from getting involved,” he said.
On Wednesday, China called its military activities a “just” move to protect peace and stability and again blamed Taiwan’s “collusion” with foreign forces, a veiled reference to the United States for sowing the tension.