During a speech on Taiwan’s National Day, Oct. 10, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned that the country would be strengthening its military to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty against the Chinese Communist Party.
“After taking complete control of Hong Kong and suppressing democracy activists, the Beijing authorities also shifted away from the path of political and economic development that they had followed since ‘reform and opening up’ began decades ago. At the same time, regional order is being challenged in the South and East China Seas. The routinization of Chinese military activity in Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ) has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety.”
She stressed that Taiwan “is willing to do its part to contribute to the peaceful development of the region” and that Taiwan’s “position on cross-strait relations remains the same: neither our goodwill nor our commitments will change.”
However, Tsai explained that maintaining peaceful relations requires China to also maintain the peace. She then said that Taiwan will continue to strengthen its national defense to protect its people from China.
“We hope for an easing of cross-strait relations and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure. We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. [It] offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
Tsai’s comments come one week after China sent over 150 military planes into Taiwanese air space, including planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told ABC Australia in response to China’s aggression. “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment. I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”
Over the summer, CCP leader Xi Jinping indicated that China was preparing to invade Taiwan.
“We must accelerate the modernization of national defense and the armed forces. A strong country must have a strong military, as only then can it guarantee the security of the nation. … Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China. We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward ‘Taiwan independence.’”
Elbridge Colby, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development, warned that China would likely “go for an invasion” if it wants to solve Xi’s “Taiwan question.”
“I actually think China’s most likely, if it really wants to solve the Taiwan issue — which I do think is really consequential for American’s interests in a concrete way — I think they’re likely to go for an invasion,” Colby said.
In June, experts noted that China was working to “accelerate their modernization programs to develop capabilities to seize Taiwan.” Soon after, The Washington Post reported that China was adding more than 100 new missile silos:
“The 119 nearly identical construction sites contain features that mirror those seen at existing launch facilities for China’s arsenal of nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The acquisition of more than 100 new missile silos, if completed, would represent a historic shift for China, a country that is believed to possess a relatively modest stockpile of 250 to 350 nuclear weapons.”