China-Taiwan tensions at a point 'not seen in years' says expert
Tensions between Beijing and Taiwan have reached boiling point over the last few months with China continuing to assert its dominance in the South China Sea region. Taiwan has previously called for “like-minded” nations to counter against Beijing.
But fears of war have increased after four Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ).
The air force sent intercept jets to shadow three People’s Liberation Army Y-8s and one Y-9 as they flew between Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Dongshan Island.
This marked the most incursions in one single day since early November, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.
Throughout December, Chinese military planes have entered Taiwan’s southwest ADIZ on eleven days.
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Following the increased number of incursions, Taiwan’s defence ministry allocated a section of its website to log the near-daily Chinese warplane incursions.
They have described the actions of the Chinese as “provocations”.
This comes after Chinese army tank and infantry units took part in an urban warfare exercise described as a mock invasion of Taiwan.
Footage aired by China’s state broadcaster CCTV last week included rare images of the Type 96A main battle tank during a war game in Hangzhou, in east China.
The Chinese army units of 72nd Group Army took part in the street battle exercise which attempted to simulate conditions China’s invading forces could encounter if they invade Taiwan.
It is believed the invading “red” force of 230 soldiers and 30 tanks were tasked with capturing an urban city block defended by a “blue” team.
General Alan Shih, Taiwan’s defence ministry spokesperson, said Taiwan’s military will continue to improve its “defence capabilities”.
He said: “Taiwan’s military intelligence is aware of all Chinese troop deployments and mobilisations.
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“The Chinese Communist Party has never scaled back its verbal and military threats.
“Taiwan’s military will continue to improve its defence capabilities.”
Earlier this month, Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, urged other nations to work together to counter against Beijing.
Mr Wu said: “If one of the most critical junctures of the first island chain is not in the hands of the like-minded countries, we can imagine what this is going to create in the global strategic picture.
“We definitely need to think about how we prevent it from happening.
“The like-minded countries need to come together, and we will be strong together.”
He warned allies including the US, Europe, Japan and Australia that if Taiwan was to “fall prey to China” it would increase Beijing’s reach into the Pacific region.
He continued: “We want the international community to understand that excluding 23.5 million people here in Taiwan is definitely not fair to the Taiwanese people, and also, excluding Taiwanese people from participating in the World Health Organisation is not fair to the rest of the International community.
“Whoever is affected by Chinese expansionism will turn around and [ask] is it good for me to do business with this country?
“I’m sure you see that Japan, the United States, India and now Australia, [as well as] many other countries including in the European Union are now saying ‘hey, maybe this is the time for us to rethink the strategy for dealing with China’.”
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