November 2021 \ World News \ INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Taiwan readies to counter Chinese aggression

Mr Xi Jinping

His message was clear that Taiwan cannot be allowed to be an independent nation at any cost. “The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and will definitely be fulfilled,” Xi said.

The comments of Xi’s, however, were not welcomed in Taiwan despite the fact that a section of Taiwanese people may have no problem in reunification to avoid bloodshed. “China is presently rather authoritarian. Especially under Xi Jinping, it’s gotten worse. Reunification is not appropriate now,” said a Taiwanese national.

It will not be easy for China to get Taiwan integrated with the mainland. Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has declared that the Taiwanese would not bow to pressure from Beijing and instead built strong military capabilities to fight off Chinese forces. “We will continue to bolster our national defence and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us,” said she in response to Xi’s comments.

Tsai also stressed the international support in favour of Taiwan in case China sends its troops to occupy the island country. “In Washington, Tokyo, Canberra and Brussels, Taiwan is no longer on the margins,” she said.

There was a confident tone of a very experienced and skilled politician in Tsai, who had one of the most difficult leadership positions in the world, said Mark Harrison, a senior lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Tasmania.

“It also shows the expanding strategic horizons of Taipei, with the Tsai government looking beyond Washington in its strategic and security policies,” Harrison said. The US has vehemently opposed China’s intention to forcefully occupy Taiwan. The Biden administration is helping Taiwan to improve its defence capabilities and international standing to ensure Taipei is strong enough to fend off Chinese threats.

Also, the US has concentrated its focus on Taiwan after its exit from Afghanistan. So it will not let Beijing swallow up Taiwan. Moreover, western countries like France and the UK have sent their warships and submarines in the South China Sea and the East China Sea seeking freedom of navigation especially in the crucial Straits of Taiwan. Japan and Australia too are pertinacious in this respect.

Besides the US, Taiwan has got a new friend, who holds influence in the Indo- Pacific region. It is Australia. A few years ago, Australia had nothing to do with Taiwan and its problem. However, the recent incidences of hostilities with China and fear of the South China Sea being dominated by Beijing have brought Australia closer to Taiwan.

Tony Abbott, former Australian prime minister, said, “I will be encouraging us to deepen our engagement with Taiwan in ways that are consistent with Australian government policy.” Taiwan too has urged Australia to increase intelligence sharing and security cooperation in the wake of escalating military threats from Beijing. On October 1, as many as 38 Chinese warplanes entered Taiwan’s airspace, which was the highest in one day so far.

Moreover, China had deployed over 150 fighter jets across the Taiwan Strait when Xi Jinping spoke about reunification. The Taiwanese leadership, however, have expressed their determination to stave off Chinese aggression. “I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well,” said Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.


Tags: China, Taiwan