Taiwan cautions of unexpected incursion by China in proximity to the island

Taiwan’s Defense Minister Chiu Kucheng said on Monday that the island should be in alert quest’year in anticipation of any “sudden entry” by the Chinese military in areas close to its territory amid rising military tensions across the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

Answering questions from a lawmaker, Qiu said the People’s Liberation Army could find excuses to enter in areas close to Taiwan’s territorial air and sea space as the island strengthens its military ties with the United States.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang said on Sunday that the government should promote the peaceful development of relations with Taiwan and China’s “peaceful reunification” process, as well as take decisive steps to oppose Taiwan’s independence.

In response to his remarks, Taiwan’s government said on Sunday that China should respect the Taiwanese people’s adherence to the basic concepts of sovereignty, democracy and freedom.

The China Policy Affairs Council on Taiwan said in a statement that China should handle matters across the Taiwan Strait in pragmatic, rational, fair and mutually respectful way.

The United States has agreed to sell more weapons to Taiwan, including $619 million worth of F-16 fighter jet ammunition, in a decision that could raise another point of contention between the United States and China, which claims the island as its territory.

Tensions between China and the United States are at their highest in years over US support for the self-ruled island, which has included visits by high-level politicians and a host of other issues, including a suspected Chinese spy balloon that has flown across the United States before it was shot down last month.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory to be taken by force if necessary, and has stepped up military and diplomatic harassment.
The two sides split during the civil war in 1949 and the Communist Party of China never took control of the island.

Interestingly, the United States is the main supplier of military equipment to Taiwan, and China has resisted previous sales by imposing sanctions and other measures.