China-Taiwan military tensions ‘worst in 40 years’

China-Taiwan military tensions 'worst in 40 years'
China has displayed its air superiority by sending scores of planes in the area recently. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Taiwan’s defence minister Chiu Kuo-cheng has said tensions with China are at their worst in 40 years, warning of the risk of an accidental strike between the two.

The Taiwanese defence minister’s comments came after China sent a “record number” of military jets into the island’s air defence zone for four consecutive days. Tensions between China and Taiwan have been increasing in recent years.

Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state, but China views Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Beijing hasn’t ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification.

While Chinese military jets have not been flown all the way to Taiwan, Mr Chiu warned that there was a risk of a “misfire”.

Taiwan’s air defence zone extends over an area that covers the Taiwan Strait and a large swathe of the Chinese mainland. Taipei considers jets crossing an unofficial line between Taiwan and China as an incursion.

Mr Chiu also warned Beijing would be capable of mounting a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025.

He was speaking as a parliamentary committee in the capital considered a multi-billion-dollar defence spending bill to build warships and missiles.

Acknowledging that China already has the capacity to invade Taiwan, he said such a move would get easier in coming years, though he didn’t elaborate.

Taiwan broke away from mainland China as communists seized power in 1949.

Analysts have warned that China is becoming increasingly concerned that the government of Taiwan is moving the island towards a formal declaration of independence and wants to deter its President Tsai Ing-wen from taking any steps in that direction.

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