Taiwan’s foreign minister has called on the international community to help defend its country against an intensifying military threat from China and fears “a real opportunity” for war.
The comments from the Minister, Joseph Wu, come before the expected arrival on Thursday in Taiwan for the US Deputy Secretary of Economic Affairs, Keith Krach, with a delegation for a two-day visit.
In an editorial late Wednesday, the Chinese state media outlet Global Times said that Taiwan “destroyed their strategic maneuverability by completely sitting with the United States,”
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said it trusted the visit would “deepen friendship and strengthen the relationship between like-minded partners”.
Wu’s comments reiterated previous calls by President Tsai Ing-wen for a coalition between countries to take a stand against “authoritarian aggression” as China strengthens military and economic pressure in the region.
There have been reports of unprecedented U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, including mines, cruise missiles and drones, just before Krach’s visit.
Wu told France 24 TV that Taiwan was “on the front lines and defending democracies from being taken over by communist China” and needed help.
“We have tried very hard in the last few years to strengthen our own defense capabilities, and at the same time we want the international community to understand that Taiwan as a democracy has been threatened by China, which is an authoritarian country that is trying to to expand its influence, ”Wu said. He cited as examples China’s actions in the South China Sea, Hong Kong and at its disputed border with India.
“We feel that like-minded countries or other democracies need to pay more attention to this area and come to each other’s aid so that China’s expansionist motivation can be deterred.”
Although the Chinese Communist Party has never ruled Taiwan, Beijing considers Taiwan a part of China and has accused the tsai-led government of separatism. Beijing has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force, and especially in recent months there has been an increase in defense build-up and military exercises. Wu said more than 30 People’s Liberation Army planes had recently crossed into Taiwan’s aviation identification zone.
The minister said Taiwan valued the United States “continued to show its presence in this region”, adding: “I think it is a show for the Chinese side that its military threat to other peace-loving countries would not have been tolerated. “
The United States does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but under Donald Trump has increasingly supported Tapei, both for its successful response to the pandemic and its stance on China’s aggression.
On Thursday, Reuters reported that the United States planned to sell as many as seven weapons systems to Taiwan, a rare concentration of sales after years of distribution transactions.
Under Taiwanese precautionary law, the United States supplies the Taiwanese government with weapons whose quantity and quality, as then-President Ronald Reagan said in 1982, were determined “solely on the threat posed by China. [People’s Republic of China]”.
The United States has announced more than $ 23 billion. In arms sales to Taiwan over the past 10 years, according to a 2019 Department of Defense report.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment on the reported arms sale, saying it handled such talks in a low-key and confidential manner and would wait until there was a formal announcement to Congress on any sale.
Earlier this month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the United States of directly interfering in territorial and maritime disputes in the region, flexing its muscles and stepping up its military deployment. “Such actions are becoming the biggest factor promoting the militarization of the South China Sea,” Wang said.
Krach is scheduled to attend a memorial service for the late Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui and will also discuss “how to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation,” the U.S. State Department said.
Krach’s visit follows the announcement of a new economic dialogue between the two governments, a high-profile visit by US Secretary of Health Alex Azar and by the Czech parliamentary speaker, whose visit sparked a diplomatic spit with China that drew other European nations.