Taiwan says chances of war with China next year are “very low”

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A Taiwanese flag flies in the wind in Taoyuan, Taiwan on June 30, 2021. REUTERS / Ann Wang / File Photo

TAIPEI, Oct. 20 (Reuters) – The odds of a war with China next year are “very low,” a senior Taiwanese security official told lawmakers on Wednesday, amid heightened tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the island.

Taiwan has repeatedly said it will defend itself in the event of an attack, but wants to maintain the status quo with China even though it complains about the Chinese air force’s repeated exits into its identification zone air defense, or ADIZ.

“I think that in general, within a year, the probability of a war is very low,” National Security Bureau director general Chen Ming-tong said at a meeting. the parliamentary defense committee.

“But there are a lot of things you still have to watch out for called contingent events.”

Earlier this month, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan would not be forced to bow to China, but reiterated its desire for peace and dialogue with Beijing.

Barring “unforeseen events,” Chen said, “in a year, two years or three years, during President Tsai’s tenure, I think there will be no problem.”

Chen cited the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of an unexpected event that fundamentally changed society.

“Nobody expected it,” he said.

Earlier this month, China staged four consecutive days of massive air force incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ, which covers an area larger than Taiwan’s territorial airspace. Taiwan is monitoring and patrolling ADIZ to give it more time to respond to any threats.

While Chinese planes have not entered Taiwan’s airspace, flying mainly in the southwest corner of its ADIZ, Taiwan sees the increased frequency of incursions as part of the escalation of military harassment from Beijing.

China has defended its military activities as “just” measures to protect peace and stability, attributing the tensions to Taiwan’s “collusion” with foreign forces – a veiled reference to the United States.

Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said last week that Taiwan would not start a war with China but would “face the enemy head on”.

Military tensions with China have been at their peak for more than 40 years, Chiu said earlier this month, adding that China would be able to mount a “full-scale” invasion by 2025.

Reporting by Sarah Wu; Editing by Ben Blanchard & Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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