Chinese Taipei's defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng says the self-ruled island is in need of long-range weapons to properly deter mainland China.
Chiu told parliamentarians on Monday that Taipei needed long-range missiles to send a message to “the enemy” that the island's inhabitants were prepared for conflict.
“The development of equipment must be long-range, precise, and mobile, so that the enemy can sense that we are prepared as soon as they dispatch their troops,” he added.
Chiu revealed that Taipei’s military forces were using both medium- and long-range missiles in intercept drills at a key test site on the southeastern coast. He did not give further details and say how far the missiles could reach.
In their annual report on the Chinese military, Taipei's commanders admitted that Beijing’s forces could "paralyze" the island’s military, noting that Beijing monitored all their military movements.
Chiu insisted it was important that the people were aware of the enemy threat.
He said to counter China’s military clout, Taipei’s forces "must be mobile, stealthy and able to change positions."
China considers Chinese Taipei as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland under the “One China” policy. The sovereignty is subject to international recognition, including by the United States.
China has ramped up its military drills near the self-ruled island to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests.”
Chinese Taipei, however, views the maneuvers as “new incursions” into its self-designated air defense identification zone, vowing to fight to the end in case of an attack by China.
The island's female president from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Tsai Ing-wen, has set strengthening the island’s military forces as one of her main priorities.
In her vision, Chinese Taipei can hold the fort by bolstering and modernizing defenses, pleading with military leaders to turn the island into a fortress, similar to a "porcupine."
The United States, which backs the secessionist president, continues to sell weapons to the island in defiance of Beijing and in violation of its own official policy.
Beijing condemns the expanding US ties with Chinese Taipei and its weapons sales to the island territory as a violation of China's sovereignty.
In a congratulatory letter on Sunday to the newly elected leader of Taipei’s main opposition party, China's President Xi Jinping branded the situation on the island as “complex and grim.”
On Saturday, Kuomintang (KMT) elected as their leader former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu, who has signaled a willingness to rekindle stalled contacts with Beijing.
Xi expressed hope that both China’s ruling Communist Party and KMT could cooperate on “seeking peace in the Taiwan Strait, seeking national reunification and seeking national revitalization.”
British frigate sails through Taiwan Strait
Despite Beijing’s warnings against foreign military presence in the region, a British warship from the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Monday en route to Vietnam.
HMS Richmond had been deployed in the East China Sea to take part in the United Nation's sanctions enforcement operations against North Korea.
After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are now en route through the Taiwan Strait to visit #Vietnam and the Vietnam People's Navy. #CSG21 International by design pic.twitter.com/0bys9eYY42— HMS Richmond (@HMS_Richmond) September 26, 2021
Earlier this year, Britain announced the permanent deployment of two warships in the South China Sea amid growing tensions between the United States and China.
China has constantly warned the US and its allies against military activities in the sea, saying that close military encounters between the air and naval forces of the two countries in the region could trigger accidents.