TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will fight to the end if China attacks, its foreign minister said on Wednesday, adding that the United States sees the danger of this happening amid mounting Chinese military pressure, including aircraft carrier drills, near the island.
Taiwan, claimed by China, has complained about Beijing’s repeated military activities in recent months, and the Chinese air force conducts almost daily forays into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. On Monday, China said a group of aircraft carriers was exercising near the island.
“From my limited knowledge of US decision makers who observe developments in this region, they clearly see the danger of the possibility that China will launch an attack on Taiwan,” Joseph Wu told reporters at his ministry.
“We are ready to defend ourselves without question and will fight the war if it is necessary to fight the war. And if we have to defend ourselves until the last day, we will defend ourselves until the last day ”.
Washington, Taiwan’s largest international arms sponsor and supplier, has been pressuring Taipei to modernize its military so that it can become a “porcupine,” which is difficult for China to attack.
Wu said they were determined to improve their military capabilities and spend more on defense.
“The defense of Taiwan is our responsibility. We will try everything we can to improve our defense capabilities. “
Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense said at a separate event that they will run eight days of computer-assisted war games this month of a Chinese attack on Taiwan, forming the first phase of Taiwan’s largest annual war games, the Han exercises. Kuang.
A second phase, which includes live fire drills, will take place in July.
“The drills are designed around the toughest enemy threats, simulating all possible scenarios in an enemy invasion of Taiwan,” Maj. Gen. Liu Yu-Ping told reporters.
The second phase of Taiwan’s war games would involve mobilizing some 8,000 reservists to join live-fire, anti-landing and hospital drills that conduct drills to cope with the influx of heavy casualties.
When asked whether Washington’s de facto embassy, the American Institute in Taiwan, would send representatives to the drills, Liu said such a plan was “discussed” but “will not be implemented,” citing military sensitivity.
Taiwan has not said where the Chinese carrier group is currently located, or whether it will go alongside the disputed South China Sea, where a US carrier group currently operates.
Speaking in parliament, Vice Defense Minister Chang Che-ping said the movements of the Chinese airline were being closely monitored and described its drills as routine.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Roger Tung; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore