Taiwan to bolster defences in face of increasing Chinese threats

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (pictured) is expected to announce a beefing-up of the island's combat power an upgrade of its defences in a major speech on Monday, as tensions with China continue to rise.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has come under increasing military and political pressure from Beijing, especially after Chinese war games in early August following a Taipei visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Last week Taiwan's Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng warned that the intrusion of any Chinese fighter jets or drones that intrude into Taiwan’s territorial airspace will be regarded as a “first strike."

In the past, we said we won’t be the first to strike, which meant we will not fire the first shot without (China) firing artillery shells or missiles first. But now the definition has obviously changed, as China used means such as drones. So we have adjusted, and will view any crossing of aerial entities (into Taiwan’s territorial airspace) as a first strike.

Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng.

Chiu’s statement adds to the complicated security situation across the strait, following recent remarks by US President Joe Biden that US military personnel would defend Taiwan if the Chinese military were to launch an invasion of the democratically ruled island.

He made the remarks while addressing lawmakers on the threats posed by China’s recent spate of escalatory measures, which has seen Chinese warplanes and drones fly near to the self-governing island.

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