Taiwan: Foreign Minister warns of 'military assault' from China

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Joseph Wu said Beijing has been trying to “cut off” Taiwan from the world with military actions and international pressure. Beijing regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and has threatened to start a conflict in order to reunite the island with mainland China.

Mr Wu was asked what he believes Beijing’s intentions are in the wake of increased military drills and aggression.

The minister said: “I think Beijing has been preparing for war against Taiwan, and that is what we have been seeing. They are preparing for it.

“If you look at the number of sorties (attacks from troops), it’s around 2,900 times last year. So, the threat has been increasing.

“And when we examine in a closer way, the Chinese sometimes even cross the middle line of the Taiwan Strait.”

Speaking to PBS reporter Nick Schifrin, the minister suggested Beijing is “forcing” other countries to cut ties with Taiwan.

He told the programme he believes “they are also trying to cut off Taiwan from the international society”, suggesting Beijing wants Taiwan out of the World Health Organisation and other bodies.

Mr Wu then added: “They are forcing other countries not to have official contact with us. And, moreover, Chinese are also engaging in cognitive warfare.

“They use cyberattack, disinformation, and something similar to disrupt the democratic process here in Taiwan, to create a conflict in between the government and the society, or to create a distrust between Taiwan and our major ally, which is the United States.”

Since the start of the year, Chinese warplanes have been scrambled over Beijing in preparation for a potential conflict.

PBS reports that Chinese jets have carried out the incursions almost daily.

On March 26, 20 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone in the largest incursion reported by the island’s defence ministry.

A Taiwanese official told Newsweek the moves are designed to practice cutting the country off from Japanese and American intervention if China carries through on its threats to launch an invasion.

It comes as Chinese state media has threatened Australia for its support of Taiwan, saying they “will be hit first”.

The Global Times published an article which said: “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) doesn’t need to make pointed responses to the joint drill since it’s insignificant militarily.

“Australia’s military is too weak to be a worthy opponent of China, and if it dares to interfere in a military conflict for example in the Taiwan Straits, its forces will be among the first to be hit.”

The article followed Australian naval forces completing various war game exercises with the US, France and Japan in the East China Sea for the first-ever training drill between the nations.

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