CHINESE intimidation of Taiwan by military force shows that the island needs to prepare for a possible military conflict, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said in an exclusive interview with CNN .
The warning came a week after the Chinese Air Force sent 28 military planes, including fighters and bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, into Taiwanese airspace. This is the biggest such incident since Taiwan’s air defense introduced the so-called identification zones last year.
Although this move does not constitute a violation of international law, it is believed that the Chinese military wanted to demonstrate its military superiority.
“We as responsible people in Taiwan can’t take risks, we have to be prepared,” Wu told CNN on Wednesday in Taipei. “When the Chinese government says it will not give up the use of force and when it conducts military exercises around Taiwan, we choose to believe it is a real threat,” he said.
China: Wu is a stubborn separatist, we will punish all proponents of “Taiwan independence”
Wu, who has been Taiwan’s foreign minister since 2018, accused Beijing in May of being a “stubborn separatist” after his statement that Taiwan would fight “until the last day” if it is attacked by China.
“Stopping‘ Taiwanese independence ’is a necessary condition for maintaining peaceful relations,” said Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for China’s Taiwan office. “Joseph Wu has repeatedly arrogantly provoked ‘Taiwanese independence’ … We will take all necessary measures to ensure that such fierce advocates of ‘Taiwanese independence’ are severely punished, in accordance with the law,” she said.
In response, Wu told CNN he was honored to be targeted by communist authorities in Beijing. “Authoritarianism can’t tolerate the truth. If they keep saying they want to persecute me for the rest of my life, I don’t really care,” he said.
Wu: Taiwan wants the status quo and peace with China
Wu told CNN that the Taiwanese population wants to maintain the status quo: a democratically elected president and parliament, a separate military and the authority to issue their own visas and passports.
“The status quo includes Taiwan, which is not governed by the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Wu also stressed that Taipei is ready to work for peace with China and called on Chinese leaders to work together for sustainable and peaceful coexistence.
“I think it is the shared responsibility of Taiwan and China to build a peaceful and civil relationship, as well as to maintain dialogue,” Wu said.
“People here in Taiwan want peace, and that’s what the Taiwanese government wants,” he said. “And besides peace, we also want a dialogue between Taiwan and China. But, of course, tango takes two,” Wu said.
Why is China insisting on incidents with Taiwan?
Taiwan is not internationally recognized, and China formally considers it its renegade 23rd province and insists that, sooner or later, it must return to its sovereignty. Indeed, Chinese President Xi Jinping, under whom China has taken a much more aggressive stance on the world stage than before, has promised that Taiwan will never become officially independent, even at the cost of forcibly returning the island to Beijing.
Therefore, the United States fears that it will no longer be able to deter China from forcibly occupying Taiwan, as it has successfully done for the past 70 years by combining calculated diplomacy and military supremacy. Namely, all the time, since the losing nationalist side found refuge in Taiwan in 1949, China has insisted that there is only one China and that Taiwan is not a real state. The US officially agrees with the doctrine of “one China” all the time, while in practice it ensures the survival of the other China, ie Taiwan, by protecting it from Chinese aggression.
U.S. Admiral: An invasion of Taiwan could happen in the next six years
But the situation is changing dramatically, US Admiral Phil Davidson, the current commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, confirmed when he warned in a March hearing in Congress that the Chinese invasion of Taiwan could happen “in the next ten years, in fact in the next six years.”
And the U.S. military warned earlier this month that China is likely to speed up its plan to take control of Taiwan.