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DEFENSE/Taiwan to counter 'first moves' by Chinese aircraft and vessels: Minister

03/07/2024 07:27 PM
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The Republic of China (Taiwan) Marine Corps conduct a drill on Jan. 31, 2024. CNA file photo
The Republic of China (Taiwan) Marine Corps conduct a drill on Jan. 31, 2024. CNA file photo

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) The military's definition of a "first shot" by People's Liberation Army (PLA) forces has evolved to a "first move" involving Chinese aircraft or vessels "crossing the boundary," which will be "countered" by the armed forces, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said Thursday.

Chiu made the remarks during a legislative hearing when he was asked by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Puma Shen (沈伯洋) if Taiwan has a specific rule that will trigger the armed forces to engage the PLA.

If all Taiwan's armed forces do is look for ways to avoid war, China could pounce, Shen said.

Saying the military shared Shen's concerns, Chiu said the armed forces need to know when to avoid war and when to engage, using the military's updated "first shot" definition to illustrate his point.

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng. CNA photo March 7, 2024
Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng. CNA photo March 7, 2024

In the past, Chiu said, only when the enemy had fired a first shot would the armed forces counter, but now the military would engage following a "first move" that involves PLA aircraft or vessels "crossing the boundary."

Although Chiu did not specify what the boundary meant, he said during previous legislative hearings that it referred to the boundary delineating Taiwan's territorial waters and airspace.

"When war becomes inevitable, [the military] must engage," the minister said.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) asked Chiu to further expand on what constitutes a "first move."

Former Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) defined a "first shot" as the firing of canons, artillery, or missiles, but now the PLA uses many "gray zone" tactics aimed at harassing Taiwan and does not need to fire a gun or cannon, Chiu explained.

Therefore, instead of waiting for the PLA to fire a "first shot," Taiwan's armed forces would now wait for a "first move," which he defined as Chinese aircraft or ships crossing the boundary.

"Once the PLA has made the first move, the armed forces have the right to counter that first move. We will not make first moves, we will only counter," the minister added.

(By Sean Lin)


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