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HomeWorldTaiwan warns China’s military may make ‘sudden entry’

Taiwan warns China’s military may make ‘sudden entry’


Taipei’s defense minister says the self-governing island is ready to “fire the first shot” if Chinese troops invade its territorial space.

Taiwan should be wary of a “sudden entry” by the Chinese military into areas close to its territory this year as tensions rise in the Taiwan Strait, the defense minister warned.

China has ramped up its military activity around Taiwan in recent years, including near-daily air force raids on the island’s air defense zone.

However, Taiwan has not reported a single incident of Chinese troops entering the contiguous zone, 44.4 km (24 nautical miles) from the coast. But it shot down a civilian drone that entered its airspace near a small island off the Chinese coast last year.

Responding to questions from lawmakers in parliament, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Monday that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could find excuses to enter areas close to Taiwan’s territorial air and sea space as the self-governing island are military exchanges with the United States, much to Beijing’s anger.

The PLA could make a “sudden entry” into Taiwan’s bordering zone and get close to its territory, which defines the island as 22 km (12 nautical miles) from the coast, he said.

“(I’m) specifically making these comments this year, which means they’re making such preparations,” Chiu said. “Looking forward, they would use force if they really had to.”

In response, Mao Ning, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a daily briefing that Beijing will “take strong measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Taiwan has said it will exercise its right of self-defense and counterattack if Chinese forces enter its territory.

Last year, China staged unprecedented military exercises around Taiwan in response to a visit to the island by then Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.

Chiu said China was looking to “cause trouble under some pretext,” including visits to the island by senior foreign government officials or Taiwan’s frequent military contacts with other countries.

When asked by a lawmaker whether the US planned to store some of its military equipment in Taiwan, Chiu said such talks were underway, but declined to elaborate.

The US is Taiwan’s main international arms supplier, and increasing US support for the democratic island has added to tension in already tense US-China relations.

Willing to ‘fire first shot’

Chiu said the PLA sends about 10 planes or ships to areas near Taiwan every day. Some are crossing the centerline of the Taiwan Strait, which has historically served as an unofficial buffer, he said.

Chiu said that since China abandoned a tacit agreement on military movements in the strait, Taiwan has prepared to “fire the first shot” if Chinese entities, including drones or balloons, enter its territorial space.

China claims self-governed Taiwan as its own and has not refrained from using force to bring it under Chinese control if necessary. Taiwan strongly rejects China’s claims of sovereignty, saying only its people can decide its future.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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