Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Stresses Need for Taiwan to Prepare for Possible Military Invasion by Beijing

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Wu Chiu-sup said China’s escalating military intimidation of Taiwan shows that democratic and autonomous Taiwan “needs to be prepared” for a possible “military conflict.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Wu Chiu-sup issued the warning a week after 28 Chinese military aircraft of all types, including fighter jets and bombers, intruded into the air defense identification zone in Taiwan’s southwest airspace and the airspace in Taiwan’s southeast China Sea on June 15. This is the largest number of intrusions into Taiwan’s airspace in a single day since 25 Chinese military aircraft disturbed Taiwan on April 12 this year.

CNN reported Thursday that Wu Chiu-sup said in Taipei on Wednesday that as Taiwan’s policymakers, they cannot turn a blind eye to this and must be prepared. And when the Chinese government says it will not renounce the use of force and keeps holding military drills around Taiwan, Taiwan would rather believe it’s true.

Wu Chiu-sup, who has been foreign minister since 2018, said at a press conference in May this year that Taiwan would fight to the last day if attacked by the Chinese Communist Party, the report said. He was subsequently accused by Beijing of being a “stubborn Taiwan independence activist. Beijing has also threatened to severely punish recalcitrant elements who insist on Taiwan’s independence.

Wu told CNN that he was honored by Beijing’s attacks and was not worried about Beijing’s threats. He also said that authoritarian regimes cannot tolerate the truth.

Wu stressed that Taiwan cannot accept the unification of the Chinese Communist Party, especially since what happened to Hong Kong shows that defending Taiwan’s sovereignty is crucial to protecting the status of the world’s only Chinese-speaking democracy.

Wu said the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law” drafted by Beijing and pushed through in Hong Kong has been used to eliminate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, criminalize pro-democracy activities as subversion, secession and collusion with foreign powers, imprison pro-democracy activists and anti-government figures, and infringe on press freedom, the report said.

“If you look at the situation in Hong Kong, it’s a modern tragedy,” Wu said. He cited the suppression and suspension of Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, as an example of Beijing’s intolerance of freedom in the SAR.

Wu added that “Apple Daily is a symbol of independent media, and the Chinese government’s motive is to eliminate that symbol” and that “Taiwan is already a democratic society. When the vast majority of people in Taiwan say no to something (reunification), no political leader will touch that idea.”

Wu said the people of Taiwan want to maintain the status quo, a status quo that includes Taiwan’s unwillingness to be governed or ruled by the People’s Republic of China, the report said.

Wu also stressed Taipei’s willingness to work toward peace in the Taiwan Strait and called on Beijing’s leaders to work together for lasting and peaceful coexistence, the report added.

I believe that Taiwan and China have a shared responsibility to establish peaceful and civilized relations between them, and there is a dialogue,” Wu said, adding that “the people of Taiwan want peace, and that is what the Taiwanese government wants. In addition to peace, we also want dialogue between Taiwan and China. But of course, it takes two to tango.”

In addition to criticizing Beijing for sending warplanes to harass Taiwan’s airspace, Wu also accused China of using “hybrid warfare” (traditional and non-traditional means) to undermine Taiwan’s public confidence in democracy, “using cognitive warfare, disinformation campaigns and military intimidation to create a great deal of anxiety in the minds of the Taiwanese people “.

Wu accused Beijing-sponsored entities of sending out disinformation to divide the public, including exaggerating and dramatizing the death toll of Taiwan’s new coronavirus outbreak, the report said. He also criticized Chinese cyber elements for propagating rumors that the United States, which recently gave Taiwan 2.5 million doses of vaccines, would rather immunize pets than give Taiwan more vaccines. Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office had previously called Taiwan’s accusations “imaginary” and advised Taiwan to stop “political games.

In the CNN interview, Wu also stressed the importance of Taiwan’s role in China’s growing territorial ambitions in the South China Sea and beyond. “It’s about China’s authoritarian attempts to expand its influence …… far beyond its borders, even to the Western Hemisphere,” he said. “They want to promote authoritarian rules and impose an authoritarian international order.”

Wu said Taiwan is reforming its military to augment and improve its own military capabilities, despite China spending about 15 times more than Taiwan on armaments, the report said. “We need to conduct asymmetric warfare so that China understands that if they want to wage war against Taiwan, there is a price to pay.”

Earlier, U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the House Armed Services Committee June 23 that China hopes to have the capability to invade and control Taiwan within the next six years, but should not do so in the near future.

Milley said his assessment of what he has seen and heard so far is that China does not yet intend to take Taiwan within a year or two.

The difficulty of invading Taiwan remains a major obstacle for the PLA, Milley said. I don’t think it will happen suddenly,” he said. It makes no sense, the costs to China far outweigh the benefits, and President Xi and his military will do the math, and they know that an invasion – in order to take an island the size, population and defensible size of Taiwan – would be very complicated and expensive.”

Milley also reiterated an earlier assessment that China currently lacks the capability to conduct a military takeover of Taiwan and that such an attack could lead to the involvement of U.S. forces in its defense.