President Tsai: Taiwan Doesn’t Want Confrontation

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday issued strong words for Beijing after the recent increase in flights by Chinese aircraft to the island’s air defense zone.

“Taiwan does not want a military confrontation. Taiwan expects peaceful, stable, predictable and mutually beneficial coexistence with its neighbors. But Taiwan will also do whatever it takes to defend its freedoms and its democratic way of life,” Tsai said.

Taiwan is seeking support from other democracies as the dispute with China worsens.

This week, Taiwan received a visit from a group of French senators and former Australian leader Tony Abbott.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks next to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during their meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, October 7, 2021. (Photo: Central News Agency/Pool via REUTERS)

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen speaks next to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during their meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, October 7, 2021. (Photo: Central News Agency/Pool via REUTERS)

Starting Friday last week, about 150 Chinese warplanes suddenly flew near Taiwan. This represents a new level of tension in cross-strait relations.

While this appears to be over, Taiwan has been bemoaning such activity for more than a year, calling it a “war in the gray zone.”

Taiwan says the activity is designed to weaken Taiwan’s armed forces and test their ability to respond.

China claims Taiwan as its territory.

The self-governing island is seeking to increase its defense budget over the next five years, mostly for naval weapons.

And now, various sources told Reuters that a small number of US special operations troops have been rotated to Taiwan to train Taiwanese troops.

They declined to say how long this had been going on, but hinted that it had been before the administration of US president Joe Biden.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday (7/10) also published details on the training, citing unnamed US officials.

The Pentagon, which in the past has not disclosed details about US training or consultations for Taiwanese forces, did not comment on the deployment. [uh/ab]

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