No signs of China set to launch war against Taiwan: defense chief

09/29/2020 03:47 PM
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efense Minister Yen De-fa (left) and Premier Su Tseng-chang. CNA photo Sept. 29, 2020
efense Minister Yen De-fa (left) and Premier Su Tseng-chang. CNA photo Sept. 29, 2020

Taipei, Sept. 29 (CNA) There are currently no signs indicating that China is preparing to launch an imminent large-scale invasion of Taiwan, the country's defense chief said Tuesday.

Asked if Beijing's recent military maneuvers in the region, including sending warplanes over the median line of the Taiwan Strait, could mean China is poised to launch an all-out war against Taiwan, Defense Minister Yen De-fa (嚴德發) said his ministry has not seen any signs that China is ready to do so anytime soon.

"The Chinese communist regime has continued its acts of provocation against Taiwan, but there are currently no signs showing it is ready to launch a full-scale war," Yen told lawmakers during a Legislative hearing.

One such sign would be if China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) were to move its troops originally deployed in inland provinces to China's east coast, which would indicate it is preparing for a massive amphibious operation, according to Yen.

He said that despite the repeated movements of PLA forces near Taiwan's airspace and waters, Taiwan's Armed Forces are maintaining their peacetime level of combat preparedness and have yet to ramp up their combat alert status.

Yen made the comments when asked by opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker and chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) if the PLA was ready to invade Taiwan given that PLA aircraft had entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) and crossed the Taiwan Strait median line more than 28 times this year.

He said many Taiwanese are worried that war could break out at any time.

Meanwhile, Chiang asked Yen if given strained China-U.S. relations and the greater frequency of Chinese military maneuvers near Taiwan, the U.S. might sell offensive weapons to Taiwan in the future.

Yen sidestepped the question, saying both Taiwan and the U.S. are "making adjustments based on the changes in the regional situation because the U.S. is trying to maintain regional peace," without elaborating.

According to the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which serves as a guideline for U.S. interaction with Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties, Washington is obliged to provide Taipei with defensive weapons to enable it to defend itself.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Joseph Yeh)

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