Taiwan’s Minister of Defense Beware of Sudden Movements of the Chinese Military
TAIPEI – Taiwan’s Minister of Defense, Chiu Kuo-cheng warned on Monday (6/3/2023), that the island should this year be wary of “sudden” moves by the Chinese military to areas close to its territory.
China has stepped up its military activities around Taiwan in recent years, including near-daily Air Force raids on the island’s air defense identification zone.
However, Taiwan has not reported any incidents of Chinese troops entering its contiguous zone, which is 24 nautical miles (44.4 km) from its coastline. But, Taiwan has shot down a civilian drone that entered its airspace near an island off China’s coast last year.
Answering questions from lawmakers in parliament, Chiu said China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might find excuses to enter territory close to Taiwan’s territorial airspace and sea as the island increases its military exchanges with the United States, provoking Beijing’s ire.
He said the PLA might make a “sudden entry” move into Taiwan’s contiguous zone and approach its territorial space, which the island defines as 12 nautical miles from its coastline.
“(I) specifically made this comment this year. Meaning, they made preparations like that,” Chiu said. “Going forward, they will use force if they absolutely have to,” he continued.
Taiwan itself has vowed to exercise its right of self-defense and counterattack if Chinese armed forces enter its territory.
China last year staged unprecedented military drills around Taiwan in reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island.
“China wants to stir up trouble under some pretext,” Chiu said, adding that this might include visits to the island by senior foreign government officials or Taiwan’s frequent military contacts with other countries.
According to Chiu, the PLA sends around 10 aircraft or ships to areas near Taiwan every day. Some of them cross the median line of the Taiwan Strait, which normally serves as an unofficial buffer, on an almost daily basis, he added.