Defense Minister Chiu Affirms Taiwan Must Be Able to Self-Defense

Taiwan’s defense minister said Thursday (28/10), Taiwan must be ready to defend itself and cannot fully rely on other countries to help if China launches an attack on the island.

Chiu Kuo-cheng made the statement to reporters after attending a hearing at the Taiwan legislature discussing national defense.

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng speaks to lawmakers in Taipei, Taiwan, March 25, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Ann Wang)

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng speaks to lawmakers in Taipei, Taiwan, March 25, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Ann Wang)

“Taiwan has to rely on itself, and if there are friends or other groups that can help us, then as I said before, we are happy to have them, but we cannot completely depend on them,” he said.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have risen to their highest level in decades. Beijing sent a number of fighter jets into international airspace near the island to show the seriousness of its claim to Taiwan.

China's PLA J-16 fighter jets fly at an undisclosed location.  China flew more than 30 military aircraft to Taiwan on October 2, 2021. (Photo: AP)

China’s PLA J-16 fighter jets fly at an undisclosed location. China flew more than 30 military aircraft to Taiwan on October 2, 2021. (Photo: AP)

Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense has said that China will have a comprehensive capability to attack the island by 2025.

China claims Taiwan as part of its national territory even though the island has been self-governing since breaking away in 1949 after a long civil war.

Chiu called the rising tensions between China and Taiwan today as the worst in 40 years.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in an interview with CNN broadcast Thursday that he believed the US would defend Taiwan if China took action against the island.

“I have that confidence given the long-term relationship we have with the US as well as the support from the people and the US Congress,” Tsai said.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement that appeared to run counter to decades of U.S. policy toward Taiwan. He said the US was committed to protecting the island if China attacked it.

The US has an ambiguous strategic policy towards Taiwan. America has never explicitly said it would defend the island in the face of attack. However, the US also has a policy of supporting the island’s self-defense, including by providing weapons, as stated in the law on relations with Taiwan.

The White House later said Biden’s remarks did not reflect a shift in US policy towards the island. [ab/uh]

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