Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu warned on Monday that China could exploit the election uncertainty in the USA and target the island state with its military.
Taiwan has made “all necessary preparations” after President Tsai Ing-wen convened a high-level security meeting and ordered troops on “high alert,” the Defense Ministry added on Tuesday.
The hotly contested November 3 presidential elections are being closely watched by the 23 million strong democratic island and its government, which has grown in confidence on its stalemate with Beijing, supported by the anti-Chinese stance of President Donald Trump.
Taipei, however, is preparing for a change in the dynamics of the Taiwan Strait as uncertainty grows in direct relation to the election prospects of democratic candidate Joe Biden.
Wu told lawmakers at a meeting of the Committee on Foreign and National Defense on Monday that it is possible that Beijing could seize the opportunity to escalate military threats against the country it claims as part of its territory.
“We are evaluating many possibilities, one of which is that during a long period of uncertainty after the election, China could use its military to threaten Taiwan,” Wu said.
“So far, there has been no further [military]movement on the Chinese side. If they were planning to deploy their army, there would be certain signals in advance,” he added.
Wu, who has led Tsai’s multilateral foreign policy efforts, told lawmakers that he expected the U.S. to remain active regardless of the political situation in the region.
“But regardless of any certainties or uncertainties in the United States, I believe that the U.S. will maintain or even increase its military presence in the region to prevent China from using its military power,” the minister added.
He added: “We will remain in close communication with the United States to ensure that we have sufficient intelligence and time to respond [to threats]in the most appropriate manner.
No doubt’ China is building its military to target Taiwan, the minister said
Wu told the committee that the Tsai administration is “actively engaged in talks with Washington on a framework trade and investment agreement,” but could not give a precise timeframe as to when he hopes the negotiations will continue.
Ready to fight
The People’s Liberation Army flew eight fighter planes-including six fighter planes-into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Monday, the island’s Ministry of Defence reported.
Activities of Chinese reconnaissance and combat aircraft in the Taiwan Strait have increased since mid-September, and the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense now publishes daily updates on attacks by PLA fighter aircraft on its ADIZ, whose recognition is not required by international law.
Eight PLA aircraft (Y-8 ASW*1, Y-8 RECCE*1, SU-30*2, J-16*2 and J-10*2) flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on November 2, with flight paths as shown. #ROCAF deployed patrol aircraft and air defense missile systems to monitor the activities. #Protect guard and #land. pic.twitter.com/BswbPWDgWO
– åé²é¨ Ministry of National Defence, R.O.C. ð¹ð¼ (@MoNDefense) November 2, 2020
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Defense Minister Yen De-fa revealed that Tsai had asked for the country’s armed forces to be put on “high alert” and that the military was preparing “all emergency measures” in case the momentum on the other side of the strait caused by the U.S. elections was delayed.
At the high-level national security meeting on Saturday, Tsai heard reports on the possible impact the election could have on the region and the wider implications for U.S.-China relations, Yen said.