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Taiwan Warns of Increased Risk of Accidental Clash with China
The increased frequency of China’s military activities around Taiwan recently has raised the risk of events “getting out of hand” and sparking an accidental clash, the island’s defence minister said on Saturday.
Military Drills and Provocations
Taiwan has reported a surge in Chinese military operations near its borders over the past two weeks. Dozens of fighters, drones, bombers, warships, and even China’s carrier, the Shandong, have been observed in the vicinity.
China considers Taiwan as its own territory and has been conducting such drills regularly in an attempt to assert its sovereignty claims and pressure Taipei.
Potential for Accidental Conflict
When asked about the likelihood of an accidental incident triggering a broader conflict given the frequent Chinese activities, Taiwan Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng expressed concern. He stated, “This is something we are very worried about.”
Chiu also revealed that warships from China’s southern and eastern theatre commands have been operating jointly off Taiwan’s east coast, further increasing the risk of potential clashes.
Taiwan’s Defensive Strategy
Traditionally, Taiwan has planned to utilize its mountainous east coast, particularly the major air bases, for regrouping and preserving its forces in the event of a conflict. Unlike the west coast, Taiwan’s east coast does not directly face China.
However, China has been demonstrating its ability to operate farther from its own coastline and has been flexing its military muscles near Taiwan’s east coast.
China’s Drills and Taiwan’s Response
China typically conducts large-scale exercises from July to September, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.
Despite the increasing provocations, Taiwan has emphasized its commitment to remain calm and avoid escalating the situation. However, it has made it clear that it will not tolerate repeated provocations from China, which has not yet violated Taiwan’s territorial seas or airspace.
The recent surge in China’s military activities near Taiwan has heightened the risk of accidental clashes and raised concerns about the possibility of a broader conflict. Both sides must exercise caution and pay close attention to the risks posed by aircraft, ships, and weapons involved in these operations.
China has not officially commented on these drills, and Taiwan’s concerns remain unanswered. The situation calls for continued vigilance and diplomacy to prevent any unintended escalation.