Taiwan 'won't sit idly by' while China flexes muscles: ex-minister

2018/06/14 19:18:05 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
CNA file photo

CNA file photo

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) Taiwan is continuing to upgrade its self-defense capability to safeguard its sovereignty as China keeps flexing its military muscles in the skies and seas around Taiwan, former Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) said Thursday.

While China's military vessels and aircraft have been stepping up their missions to circle Taiwan, Yang said, Taiwan has also been building its self-defense capabilities.

"Taiwan is not a fool, and we will not sit idly by while China tries to unify with Taiwan," Yang said in an interview on POP Radio.

He said that before making such a move, China would have to assess the political risks and the self-defense strength of Taiwan's military.

"Regardless of Taiwan's strategy, China will not rashly attack if it is not completely sure it will win," Yang said.

Although Taiwan is an island surrounded by water, it is not easy for an invader to make beach assaults, because of the terrain, Yang said.

"Based on those factors, China will not dare try to achieve unification with Taiwan by force at this time," he said. "It could be seen as a win for Taiwan if China refrains from such actions in the short term."

Yang said it is "natural" that China would want to flex its muscles by sending its vessels and jet fighters to circle around Taiwan as part of its long-haul military training exercises, after its huge spending to upgrade its military might.

Strategically, such actions serve to deter the United States and show the world that China is capable of controlling the First Island Chain and preventing foreign troops from coming to Taiwan's assistance, he said.

If the U.S. has to a pay a high cost in lives lost, it will not send troops to help Taiwan in the event of an attack by China, Yang said.

(By Yu Kai-hsiang and Flor Wang)
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